RFP goes out to finish Bass Harbor library

TREMONT — As the snow falls, a crew is working to make the Bass Harbor Memorial Library weather tight until another contractor can take over and finish the project next year.

Library officials recently conducted site visits with contractors who had submitted bids, Town Manager Chris Saunders told selectmen last week.

A request for proposals (RFP) went out earlier this month to vet a contractor who will focus on completing the interior of the addition and building renovations.

“Our goal is, we get bids by Dec. 30,” library trustee Mike Hays said at the Dec. 2 meeting of the Board of Selectmen. He has been overseeing the project. “We’ve got to keep moving on this and get it done.”

The library’s Board of Trustees is leading the project, but because the library is a town-owned property, selectmen are required to approve all expenditures, as well as contracts and amendments to them.

In November, the town terminated the contract with New Yankee Builders amid concerns about missed deadlines.

When work originally began this spring on the 770-square foot addition and renovations to the existing building, it was expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Library officials asked selectmen in October to extend that deadline to March 2020, noting unforeseen delays during construction.

In addition to terminating the contract with New Yankee Builders, the contract with Mel Atherton, who was clerk-of-the works, was terminated as part of the original agreement.

Selectmen then approved hiring Atherton’s company, IWA, to winterize the building and come up with a work list and specifications for a new contractor to complete the project.

Subcontractors and builders who had worked with New Yankee Builders have remained at the site to complete work for which they were hired.

“We’ve got an excellent crew right now,” said Hays. “They’re in demand. Every one of them could walk out tomorrow and have work.

“They’re emotionally committed to this project,” he added.

“Why don’t they stay and finish the whole thing?” Select Board Chair Jamie Thurlow asked Hays.

“Because that’s not what you approved,” Hays responded.

Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

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

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