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Published: 9/15/2004

Bedford Township: New library may not be open until mid-November

BY LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

TEMPERANCE - The carpet's going in, the electrical, mechanical, and plumbing systems are all being inspected, and crews are beginning to install the final pieces of Bedford Township's new $4.3 million branch library.

But even as crews begin cleaning up the interior of the new 30,000 square-foot facility, enough work remains to be done to probably keep the doors from opening to the public until about mid-November, township and Monroe County Library System officials said last week.

"The design is coming around and it's starting to look like what we expected it to look like," township Supervisor LaMar Frederick said Friday morning after a weekly construction progress meeting in the new library.

"We're all focusing on getting it done," said Nancy Bellaire, assistant director of the Monroe County Library System.

The township, which owns the building, expects to take delivery from general contractor J.L. Judge Construction of Detroit, about the first of next month, Mr. Frederick said.

As of last week, its construction was still within its original budget, although about $126,000 of the $300,000 contingency fund established for the project had been spent on various change orders. Approximately another $50,000 in change orders for various upgrades have yet to be paid, the township supervisor said.

Workers last week continued their labors to bring the building in on-time and under budget. Outside, the parking lot received its final layer of asphalt, while most of the landscaping in the rear of the building took root. Indoors, workers were leveling areas of the cement floor in anticipation of the carpeting and tile installation, while others were installing the two huge back-to-back fireplaces that dominate the interior view.

Once the workers finish the job, the real fun begins for the employees of the Monroe County Library System, which will operate the township-owned building, Mrs. Bellaire said.

"It's going to be 'all hands on deck' when it's time to move in," Mrs. Bellaire said, explaining that the library system will bring in employees from across its system to help file its collection on the new shelving that is to be installed later this month.

Library personnel will have to "re-integrate" the portions of its previous collection that have been in storage for the last year with the portion that was used at the temporary facility on Lewis Avenue. Additional materials will also be brought down from Monroe to fill up what is sure to be the system's centerpiece branch.

The entire process is expected to take four to six weeks, Mrs. Bellaire said.

At last week's township board meeting, township trustee Arnold Jennings said that the weekly and strict oversight the township board assumed for the project after the first of the year should not ease now as the project moves to completion.

"We're finally close to the end of the construction. We need to do our homework all the way through, and make sure we have enough in the kitty to cover something in case it needs fixing," Mr. Jennings said.

Still, it's not as though no one will see the interior before mid-November. Both Mr. Frederick and Mrs. Bellaire said plans to hold the November general election in the library for voters in precincts four and nine will be able to proceed as planned. Voters in those precincts had been voting in the Bedford Alliance Church.



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