By Mary Thurwachter
Construction work resumed in mid-May in what town officials hope is the final chapter to the renovation saga at the Lantana Public Library.
“The contractor is out there this morning,” Town Manager Brian Raducci said May 16.
A week earlier, on May 9, the Town Council unanimously approved a $734,227 contract with West Construction Inc. of Lantana to finish the project.
Work on the library had been idle since late December, when it was discovered that the main contractor, Sierra Construction Management & Remodeling of Weston, was operating without a license.
Council member Mark Zeitler, who discovered the licensing problem, said he was relieved when he drove by the construction site at 205 W. Ocean Ave. and noticed the Sierra Construction signs were gone and replaced with West signs.
“I’m glad we finally found a qualified contractor,” Zeitler said.
A plan to turn the work over to a subcontractor, Multitech Corp., failed earlier this year because that company was unable to obtain the bonds required to restart construction.
The town then negotiated with West, which was the second-lowest bidder when the contract was originally put to bid last July.
“It’s good to get the work finished since costs continue to go up,” Zeitler said.
The total projected cost of the renovations is about $277,000 more than originally anticipated, according to Raducci.
“West has agreed to complete this work in 120 days from when the notice to proceed is issued [May 11],” Raducci told the council. “That would be Sept. 8.”
As an incentive to finish earlier, the contract includes a performance bonus if the job is done in 90 days, by Aug. 8. The bonus would equal anything remaining from the $34,963 contingency included in the contract for unexpected expenditures, bond and insurance costs.
“This is obviously very important to the community,” Raducci said of the library project.
“I know we’ve had a couple setbacks and timing is of very much importance. The performance bonus and contingency funds go hand in hand. That performance bonus would be equal to the maximum amount of the contingency, assuming any of the contingency remains.”
On the other hand, if West doesn’t finish within 120 days, a $500-per-day penalty would kick in Sept. 8 and continue until the company completes the job.
The renovations will improve how space is used in the library and add a meeting room and outdoor reading garden. The changes include ADA-compliant restrooms, a centralized circulation desk, special spaces for children and teens and a community center for adult activities.
The contract includes a one-year warranty.
While construction continues, the library is temporarily housed in the recreation center at 418 S. Dixie Highway.
In other news, the council canceled its Aug. 22 meeting, which would have been its second of August. Staff recommended the cancellation, saying it would come at a less busy time of year and would provide staff more time to take summer breaks before adoption of a new budget.