Higher-than-expected bids force rethinking of library project County, contractor to look at redesign, more bidding


Last-minute snags have forced Howard County officials and a private contractor to re-examine plans for a western Howard County library as its construction deadlines loom.

The library, part of a regional park to be located at Carrs Mill Road and Route 97 in Cooksville, should be finished by late next year and open in early 2000, officials said yesterday.

But three construction bids by outside contractors have come in too high, they said, pushing the project's cost to $4.4 million, or $700,000 over budget.

A $670,000 bid for road and groundwork has been awarded, officials said, and that work should begin within weeks.

But construction of the library could fall two months behind schedule, officials said, despite assurances from the company managing the bidding process and construction.

That company, Powell Management Associates Inc. of Atlanta, told county officials the library would be finished on time by redesigning the project and seeking more bids, said Alan Ferragamo, assistant to the director of the Department of Public Works.

Ferragamo blamed increased school and commercial construction for inflating costs. He said Powell officials are "telling us they're staying on schedule and budget."

The library is the first phase of a regional park that should become a focal point for the western part of the county. By 2003, groundbreaking is to begin on the 36,000-square-foot community center and 180-acre park, which is to include baseball fields and horse trails, officials said.

Pub Date: 12/08/98

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