APPLETON – The architect and construction manager of the new $40 million Appleton Public Library have doubled down on value engineering in attempt to keep the project within budget in a time of high inflation.
The extra work has caused several delays in bidding the project. Under the latest schedule, the bids are due Aug. 31, and the completion of the project is targeted for spring 2024.
“We don’t know what will happen on bid day,” library project manager Dean Gazza told the Common Council. “No one can predict that, but I can tell you that we put ourselves in the best possible position to bid and hit our target.”
The existing library at 225 N. Oneida St. dates to 1981 and is considered outdated, inefficient and, at 86,600 square feet, undersized. The new library will total 107,380 square feet.
The library closed its doors in April in anticipation of construction. It is operating at a temporary site in the former Best Buy store at 2411 S. Kensington Drive.
The budget for the library project totals $40.4 million. The amount consists of $26.4 million in city property taxes, $2 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds and $12 million in private donations.
Cancel the project and leave the library in the old Best Buy. Use the $12 million in private donations to spruce up the place a bit. In a time of raging inflation, we have to stop. Stop spending. Just. Stop. Spending.