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Published: Wednesday, 3/9/2005

Bedford Township: Electrical dispute may close library down

BY LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

TEMPERANCE - Bedford Township's new $4.3 million branch library may have to close for a week or more this spring because a subcontractor left the old electrical service system in place instead of putting in the new one that was required.

Township officials planned to meet today with the project's general contractor, the subcontractor, and Consumer's Energy officials to straighten out the last remaining dispute with the library, which opened in December.

"It's kind of like buying a Cadillac and getting an Escort," township supervisor Walt Wilburn said. "We're going to meet with everybody and see if we can come to some sort of solution. All we want is what's fair."

Last week, former township supervisor and current volunteer project coordinator LaMar Frederick detailed the dispute to board members. He said that the library's plans called for installation of a completely new electrical system, at an estimated cost of more than $30,000.

The project's architect - The Collaborative, Inc., of Toledo - allegedly signed off on an inspection that indicated that the plans had been followed and the service met specifications. But during the final inspection, township building officials noticed that the service boxes were the same ones that hung on the wall of the old library, Mr. Frederick said.

In addition, Consumer's Energy reportedly installed a new transformer at the road - at the direction of someone still unknown - that provided for 800 amp service instead of the 1,200 amp service called for in the building's specifications, Mr. Frederick said.

"We're working on getting this straightened out, but we may have to shut down the library this spring for several days before we switch over [to air conditioning] because frankly, we're not sure the system, as it is, can handle the load," Mr. Frederick said.

The dispute over the electrical system is the last remaining issue with the library, and is holding up a final accounting of the construction costs. Mr. Frederick said he hoped to be able to provide a complete tally to the board either next week or at its April 5 meeting, but added that the entire project came in under budget even after all the contingencies were accounted for.

Mr. Wilburn said he was sure the dispute can be worked out, and that closing the library, even temporarily, will be the last option explored.

"That's the worst-case scenario. Hopefully, we don't go to that," Mr. Wilburn said

"We've got a big investment there, and we've got to make sure it's going to live its life for us.

"We're doing our best to put this thing to bed as much as we can."



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