Monday, January 24, 2011

We're Moving!

But only temporarily. With construction ready to begin in late March or early April, the library will be vacating its current site in mid-March and moving to a temporary home for the 8-9 months it should take to build the new facility. Our new home will be 1012 S. Main St.-- the old Gooddens Sporting Goods store across the street from Amato Ford. If all goes well, we'll be moving back to our expanded, renovated home on Washington Avenue in late November or early December.

Some of you no doubt wonder why we're moving-- couldn't we just stay where we are during construction and wouldn't that be easier and also cost less? Good questions. The option to remain at the current site was available to us, but after discussions with our architect and construction manager it became apparent that moving out was preferable to staying, for a number of reasons.

Moving out during construction will be both safer and more pleasant for everyone-- library users and library staff alike. While our construction manager has an exemplary safety record, having large equipment and other construction activity close to an occupied building is always problematic. Especially when, as we typically do at the library, there are lots of small children around. And no matter how tightly and carefully you seal things, dust, dirt and noise are inevitable byproducts of construction. Staying would have been less fun and more dangerous than moving.

So, what about cost? We have determined, with the help of our architect and construction manager, where the approximate “break even” point is on the cost of moving out versus the cost of staying. We are moving because we can do so and stay below that "break even" point-- moving out temporarily should actually save us money on the project.

That might not make sense at first, but think about these "hidden" costs to remaining onsite during the construction process:
  • Internal moves: Our construction manager estimates it will take at least four, maybe five or six, internal moves to allow the construction workers the necessary access to various parts of the building. These will be small moves, but each will be disruptive. With relocations, there are only two moves, albeit larger ones. The overall cost for the 4-6 internal moves would be at least as much as the two big moves.
  • Extended construction time. If we remain onsite, the construction workers will have to work around us, and scheduling contractors will be much more difficult and constrained. This extends the length of time to complete the project. Current estimates are that remaining in the building will extend the length of construction by 1.5 to 3 months. Each extra month of construction costs approximately $50,000 in additional administrative costs.
  • Contractor “repeat” work. With the library moving internally, there will be a need for contractors—electrical, drywallers, carpet layers, etc.—to do part of their job, then return later to finish the areas that were occupied earlier. This is much less efficient and leads to significantly higher costs.
Ultimately, moving out should be the same cost as, or somewhat less than, staying at the present site during construction.

So those are the reasons we're moving out. The space we're moving into is a good one, and we will maintain the level of service our patrons have come to expect. It will be an adventure-- so I hope you'll join us!

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