It took about a month, but the Broadview Public Library Board of Trustees voted 5-1 to approve a takeover agreement with Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, which will allow construction on the library at 2226 S. 16th Ave. in Broadview to resume within two months.
Library Trustee David Upshaw, who serves as Broadview’s building commissioner, cast the only vote against the takeover agreement.
The vote took place during a special meeting on June 13 at Schroeder Park, 2600 S. 13th Ave. in Broadview. According to the library staff, much of the work on the lower level has already been completed, but there’s still work to do on the library’s main floor and exterior. Library board members said that the remaining renovation work may take up to seven months to finish.
The $5.4 million Broadview Public Library renovation project has been years in the making. It includes the renovation of the library’s existing 17,000-square-foot facility, the construction of a new 3,000-square-foot building built on an empty lot adjacent the current facility and the installation of a new facade to flow seamlessly in front of the old and the new buildings.
Library officials broke ground back in March 2018, At the time, they estimated that construction would be finished by June 2019. In May, however, Poulos Construction Company, the general contractor for the project, defaulted. The takeover agreement will allow Travelers to act as a general contractor under virtually the same contract given to Poulos. Travelers will hire Massachusetts-based Vertex to do the actual day-to-day construction and renovation work.
The library board had originally scheduled to vote on the takeover agreement during the May 16 meeting, but the vote got pushed back several times. In an earlier e-mail, library board president Katrina Arnold indicated that they needed more time to finalize certain aspects of the agreement. At the June 13 meeting, Arnold was replaced as board president by former board vice president Eric Cummings.
During the meeting, Arnold explained that, before construction can resume, Vertex will need to go in and figure out exactly how much work it would still need to do. That process, she explained, could take about a month.
In response, some trustees raised concerns about whether there would be enough accountability to make sure that Vertex doesn’t bill the library unnecessarily. Robert Lafferty, the library’s assistant director, responded that Keisha Hester, the library’s director, has been keeping careful track of how much work was done by Poulos on any given week.
In a follow-up interview, Arnold said that the library won’t need to allocate any extra money for the remaining construction work. She said that about $1.4 million has already been spent, and the remaining work would cost around $1.2 million.