Public library accepting new expansion bids

STEUBENVILLE — Officials with the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County are hoping revisions to the “renovating history” project at the main library will result in lower construction bids.

Library Director Alan Hall and Building and Grounds Supervisor Bob DiBenedetto reviewed the original project plans after the first round of bids were in excess of the 10 percent range required by the Ohio Revised Code.

“We reviewed the plans looking for cost-savings options with a goal of retaining the foot print of the project and the historical aspect of adding onto the 1902 Carnegie building. The plans are to make the 115-year-old building Americans with Disabilities Act accessible for the first time in its history. We then met with the architects at Valentour, English, Bodnar and Howell to re-develop the plans with options,” explained Hall.

Hall said 25 people attended a contractors’ open house at the main library Tuesday to look at the existing building and the project.

The bid opening will be at noon on Dec 14 at the main library and the architects will review the bids and make a recommendation. The library trustees will meet at 4 p.m. on Dec. 19 at the Schiappa branch library to review the bids

“We anticipate the changes we made will save us approximately $350,000,” Hall noted.

“The fiscal officer for the library system has reviewed all finances and the board of trustees decided to reallocate some of the public library funds to allow the estimate of the main library project to be reset at $4,286,792 for the re-bid,” he said.

The project originally was estimated at $3.4 million by the architects.

According to Hall, the contract changes include:

¯ Making the asbestos removal contract a direct contract with the library system instead of being part of the general contract to clarify the work being done, and perform the work in advance of the general contract. That work is under way with LEPI Environmental Services LLC and involves primarily the removal of floor tile from before 1960, as well as some minor ductwork removal from the roof.

¯ Windows in the new building will be changed to fixed sash.

¯ The floor coverings contract will be removed from the general contract and placed under the authority of Hall and DiBenedetto.

¯ Equipment and library furniture contracts will be removed from the general contract and placed under the authority of Hall and DiBenedetto with as much existing furniture to be reused or renovated as possible.

¯ Hall and DiBenedetto will be responsible for all cabinetry and casework.

¯ All interior lighting equipment will be converted to industry-standard LED fixtures that will fit into the ceiling grid.

¯ All computer wire and audiovisual equipment will be removed from the general contract and will be performed and purchased by library staff and the library’s IT staff.

¯ The ceilings in the new building will be converted to standard 2-by-4-foot insert panels, eliminating bulkheads and vaulted ceilings, which will be replaced with cathedral ceilings in the computer/reference area and the children’s library.

“In addition, issues of connecting the old building with a new building were refined and better defined. It was noted the steam heating system of the 1902 Carnegie building will be retained, while the new building will have rooftop HVAC systems. The air conditioning in the Carnegie building will be replaced on the lower level, which is currently not operational, but the first floor units were recently reconstructed and will be reused,” Hall said.

“The foundation system of the new building was reviewed. Core drilling found a deep gravel base, which requires piles to be driven down 40 feet in some areas causing a higher cost. The electrical systems of the new building must meet new Ohio Building Code requirements and some of the older building will need to be upgraded, also increasing the cost over the estimate,” continued Hall.

“Some of the library’s furniture has been purchased in the past 25 years and is in good condition and can easily be reused with minor restoration.

“Other pieces were purchased from the state of Ohio in the 1930s and will be used in the office and administrative area of the building. The existing shelving in the children’s library and reference room has been dismantled and placed in storage for reuse in the new building,” cited Hall.

“I am excited that the library system was able to re-work the plans so that the re-bid will allow the main library to become a reality. Our Carnegie building was the first in the state of Ohio to be funded by Andrew Carnegie on June 30, 1899, and is today, unfortunately, the last of 816 public library buildings in Ohio that is not ADA accessible. This will finally allow all residents to enter and access the building with the new street-level entrance and elevator,” said Hall.

(Gossett can be contacted at