The renovation and addition to the Bass Harbor Library is still in progress, and is now not expected to be complete until March. ISLANDER PHOTO BY SARAH HINCKLEY

Library renovation, addition on budget, behind schedule

TREMONT — Doors of the Bass Harbor Memorial Library are not expected to open until next spring due to some unexpected setbacks.

Or, more specifically, setback requirements that introduced issues which resulted in modifications to the construction project. That, in addition to heavy spring rains and a change of crew members were reasons library board of trustees treasurer, Mike Hays, requested amendments to the general contractor’s contract and the Clerk of the Works Agreement from selectmen at the Sept. 16 meeting.

In an email to Town Manager Chris Saunders, Hays explained modifications to the construction of the south wall and the south roof line. Those modifications resulted in a longer build for the roof rafters and decking, Hays wrote.

“Each one had to be hand-cut,” he told selectmen.

“I noticed the roof was kind of unique,” Selectman Kevin Buck said during the conversation.

“That’s a good way to put it,” Hays said.

Also, after the slab was poured, a neighbor questioned whether the foundation was within the 6-foot required setback. The town’s code enforcement officer determined that it was.

All of those things meant Clerk of the Works Mel Atherton spent more hours at the site overseeing the project’s construction than planned.

In the email, Hays asked if selectmen would approve an increase of $3,000 in the clerk of the works budget, from $9,600 to $12,600 as an amendment to the original agreement.

In an amendment to the general contractor’s contract with New Yankee Builders, the library also requested a new completion date of March 1, 2020 from the original Nov. 18, 2019. With that date change, the penalty for not meeting the new deadline is also increasing by $100 a day. For every day after the new deadline the project is not complete, the contractor will be penalized $250 per day.

“It was things we couldn’t anticipate,” Hays said to selectmen. “I’d be glad to fall on my sword right here.”

Selectmen voted in favor of the amendments, 4-0-1. Selectman Mike Mansolilli abstained from the vote for no particular reason stated.

“I just don’t feel good about voting on this because of things that have come up recently,” he said prior to the vote.

In a capital campaign, library trustees raised $470,000 to be used for the renovation and a 770-square-foot expansion. Because the library is a town-owned property, selectmen are required to approve all expenditures, as well as contracts and amendments to them.

At the end of last summer, the library put out a request for proposals for the project and received a single bid from Mansolilli’s company, MDI Property Management and Maintenance. Even after the trustees and architect to worked to adjust the proposal, the bid still came in over budget.

Realizing they may not be able to keep the original plan within their projected budget, the library trustees asked selectmen if they could rework the design and put it out again for a new RFP. Selectmen voted in support of the library’s request.

Their second round attracted six different companies and New Yankee Builders came out as the top choice.

When the library board asked selectmen to approve the proposal from the Mount Desert company, they wanted to add $30,000 to it. Selectmen refused and asked the library to return with a change order request once the project got started. Selectmen approved the proposal at the amount New Yankee Builders stated they could do the job.

In May, the library trustees requested an additional $17,000 from the select board to increase the project amount to $326,775. Selectmen approved that change order unanimously.

“We feel good about being on budget,” said Hays. “We’re just not going to be on time.”

Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

Former Islander reporter Sarah Hinckley covered the towns of Southwest Harbor, Tremont and neighboring islands.

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