Council to Approve Beach Rec Center Renovation for Library
by Carl Wagenfohr
Illustration provided by the City of Clearwater
CLEARWATER - The trailer that currently houses the beach branch of the Clearwater Library will soon become history, as a contract to renovate the beach recreation center is set for approval by the City Council tonight.
The library was moved out of a rental space at Pelican Walk into a trailer located in the rec center parking lot last year as a cost saving measure. The Council promised the construction of permanent library space at the rec center during the city's 2007 budget process.
At that time, the construction budget was limited to conform to FEMA requirements, but Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Dunbar explained to the City Council on Monday that the building was floodproof and the FEMA limitation did not apply.
The construction contract will be awarded to Oakhurst Construction in for an amount of $606,873.15, which includes a 5-percent contingency. The $390,000 originally committed to the project will be supplemented with an additional $280,873.15 from the city's retained earnings fund.
The renovation will include an additional 1,200 square feet for the library, improved fitness room, storage and expanded kitchen area. A separate air conditioning system will be installed to protect the books in the Library. The windows of the social hall will be replaced to be consistent with the new construction and to further floodproof the building according to Dunbar.
Construction is expected to start on February 15. Dunbar explained that the project is a high priority in an attempt to have the renovations completed as soon as possible in order to move the library from its temporary location to the recreation center no later than May 2008.
The new fitness and multi-purpose rooms should be complete by September 2008, and the new social hall windows will be installed from December 2008 through February 2009. Dunbar explained that renovations to the social hall must be carefully scheduled to honor commitments that have already been made for rentals of that space.
Despite the additional space, Dunbar said that any extra workload would be absorbed by the recreation center's existing 4 headcount. Library branch headcount will remain at 1.5.
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