Progress report

Construction cost estimates for new Rockport library within target range

Mon, 08/06/2018 - 2:00pm

    ROCKPORT — While private fundraising continues to help build a new Rockport library, three solicited contractor estimates indicate what to anticipate for construction costs. They are, to the relief of the Rockport Select Board, in line with plans, as the town gets ready to ask taxpayers for approval to borrow money in November.

    The estimates to build the new 7,000 square-foot library at 1 Limerock Street, in Rockport Village, range from $2.6 million to $2.8 million. There is a 10 percent contingency and a 5 percent inflation factor built in to all the estimates. 

    Construction costs do not reflect total project costs, architect Stephen Smith stressed. And while the construction estimates comprise foundation pouring and structural work, there will be a bid alternate of approximately $100,000 for terraces, sidewalks and landscaping.

    Additionally, there will be another $500,000 to $600,000 in soft costs; e.g., fixtures, furnishings, legal and administrative oversight, engineering and architectural work, utility charges and more.

    That takes to total project cost to approximately $3.5 million, which is what the town had specified last winter as a target price.

    The Select Board is hoping that voters will approve borrowing money to cover $1.5 million of that $3.5 million cost. The remaining $2 million is to be raised by private donations. Efforts to solicit funds are now underway by the newly created Rockport Library Foundation.

    There will be more costs associated with the library project not falling under the $3.5 million project umbrella. They include creating 10 parking spaces along Limerock Street, which involves cutting into the existing Memorial Park, and reconfiguring the intersection of Limerock and Union streets with Russell Avenue.

    Those two auxiliary projects are considered separate from library project costs and will built into the annual Rockport municipal budget. The town is hoping the Maine Department of Transportation will contribute to the rebuilding of the intersection.

    The proposed new library is to be set on a 5,000 square foot footprint at 1 Limerock Street, in Rockport Village, on the site of the existing library. That empty building, sitting on a 3,400 square foot footprint, was constructed in 1949 and expanded several times over the decades. In 2013, the town determined it unsuitable for renovations and marked the building for eventual demolition.

    The town’s 32,000-book collection and library operations are currently housed in rented office space on Route 1.



    Last month, Rockport  hired Tom Albertson, principal of the Rockport-based Albertson Builders and Services, to produce a new library construction estimate.

    His estimate, of $2.7 million, does not include site development or existing library building demolition costs. (See attached PDF for Albertson’s estimate).

    Meanwhile, project architect Stephen Smith had also solicited estimates from two different contractors. He declined to identify them, because they may ultimately want to bid on the job, he said.

    Their estimates were $2.6 million and $2.8 million, Smith said.

    All three estimates do not reflect the $100,000 bid alternate for landscaping and building of terraces. Nonetheless, he said, the estimates produced  “still leaves us under budget.”

    In February, the town had learned that the cost estimates for the new library were $750,000 over budget, which resulted in the town select board adjusting course and pushing the municipal bond proposal to November. 

    Smith and others got to work trimming features, and ultimately making major changes to the mechanical, electrical and structural plans.

    The latest costs estimates reflect those changes.

    “The next step in the planning process is to have the town’s owner’s representative, Phi Home Builders, review the estimates, recommend adjustments, and effectively give the building plan an official ‘seal of approval,’” said Town Manager Rick Bates, in an Aug. 3 news release. “We expect to have that report in time for the September 10 Select Board meeting. Our goal there is to ensure that our cost estimating comes in as close to where final bids end up next spring. We want to avoid surprises.”

     Members of the building committee include Bates, select board members Doug Cole and Ken McKinley, Library Committee member Ann Filley, and Librarian Ben Blackmon, Architect Steve Smith, Engineer Will Gartley, and owner’s representative Charlie Frattini, who is with Phi Home Builders, based in Rockport. 

    Another group of Rockport volunteers have formed the nonprofit Rockport Library Foundation, whose purpose is to solicit contributions to complement the $1.5 million municipal bond.

    The board of directors includes:

    Ann Filley, president 

    John Viehman, vice president 

    Joan Welsh,  secretary

    Bill Leone,  treasurer

    Peter Ralston

    Cathy Monroe



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    Reach Editorial Director Lynda Clancy at; 207-706-6657