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Library tenders to be opened tomorrow

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The deadline for tenders for the new Fort Frances Public Library and Technology Centre is tomorrow at 2 p.m., at which time they’ll be opened publicly and read aloud in the committee room downstairs at the Civic Centre.

“We’re looking forward to it,” library board chair Joyce Cunningham said this morning. “This is it. This is the end, this is decision time.”

After the tenders are opened tomorrow, the library building committee will review them, depending strongly on the expertise of project manager Brian Avis, and send copies to project architect John Knox of Chamberlain Architects.

“It will still take us a while to go over them,” noted Cunningham, adding the tenders should include some options for savings, such asphalt versus metal roofing for the building.

“It will take us a little while to make some decisions,” she admitted.

She previously noted the committee will be looking to make sure the chosen firm is “a reputable firm, that they have the experience and the knowledge to take on such a project,” and maintain the integrity of the project to result in “a library we can all be proud of.”

“We’re pretty excited about this,” enthused Cunningham, adding the library building committee is hoping to start construction later this spring.

She noted the current state of the economy may prove to be helpful in making the new library and technology centre a reality.

“I think everybody is realizing this is probably the best time we’ve had in years to go ahead with construction, and certainly it falls in line with all levels of government who are saying, ‘Let’s get these projects going because it will stimulate the economy and keep people employed.’

“Right from the beginning, when we received the $1.6 million [from the Ministry of Culture in February, 2007], that was one of the major considerations—to stimulate this area with a building project, so we’re right in line.

“I am also interested in learning what kind of rates are out there for long-term loans for big projects, because when you look at prime and it is 0.5 [percent], I think we’re getting a much better rate than we ever would have at any other time that I can remember,” added Cunningham, referring to the possibility of the town borrowing money to finance its share of the project.

The library and technology centre project has a projected building cost of $3,941,871, with an extra $383,371 included both to cover an estimated 12 percent inflation in building and material costs due to delays, as well as re-design fees in the amount of $25,000.

This makes for a total budget of $4,325,242.

The accepted tender still has to be approved by council.

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