NILES High bids put plans on hold

The project must be readvertised and new bids submitted.
NILES -- McKinley Memorial Library board members will meet again next week to discuss the scope of the McKinley Home and Research Center.
The library plans a 6,000-square-foot building replicating the house where President William McKinley was born Jan. 29, 1843. The center is planned for the South Main Street site where the 25th U.S. president was born.
Bids opened last week came in higher than the $524,000 estimated cost. Eleven contractors bid on the project with $750,000 being the lowest.
Under law, the board must reject the bids and readvertise the project, Patrick E. Finan, library director, said at a board meeting Wednesday.
A groundbreaking for the project was to be next week but has been canceled.
What's being done: John DeFrance of Olsavsky Jaminet Architects, Niles, the project architect, plans to prepare a list of cost reductions for board review at a meeting Jan. 30.
"The long and the short of it is looking for the reductions," he said. "In talking to estimators, the reductions remove about $150,000 from the project and in so doing, bring it back into the reality of doability."
Some of the items include postponement of work such as landscaping and fencing and using different materials or styles than was initially planned.
DeFrance said he expects the changes to bring the project into the $100-per-square-foot cost range, which would be about $630,000.
"Short of the postponements, the reductions in no way change the look or the longevity of the building and won't reduce the size," the architect said.
What added to cost: Items included in the electrical construction portion of the bid specifications also contributed to the higher bids. Other contributors include costs associated with Niles utilities that are expected to be higher than initially expected.
The city wants additional site drainage installed, DeFrance said.
Some board members questioned whether more significant changes should be made to the project to further reduce costs. DeFrance said he would compile an itemized list of the proposed cost reductions for next week's meeting.

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