APPLETON (NBC 26) — The redesign and renovation of the Appleton Public Library was put on hold after cost estimates exceeded the proposed budget.
In the bid opening for the construction of a redesigned library, it was revealed that costs escalated beyond even the most conservative estimates. In total, the bids placed the project at $14 million over the original $40.4 million budget.
Significant efforts have been made over the past few months to reduce project costs through the value engineering process without making major adjustments.
Members of the project team met to discuss the bids and next steps. They want to make clear that they will not ask taxpayers to absorb the higher cost of the project. Additionally, they cannot expect the fundraising campaign to increase its target to fill the gap.
It was agreed that the project team was not willing to compromise on the quality or longevity of the build, they are committed to doing the project the right way.
In a statement from the City of Appleton and the Appleton Public Library, they identified seven principles to guide their work during the duration of the project. Among those seven principles were to "steward existing community investments, deliver a cost-effective plan and maximize taxpayer value while meeting community needs."
The City of Appleton recognized that inflation is affecting construction pricing causing high costs and unacceptable number bids to the City.
It was recommended to the Common Council that all bids be rejected, allowing the project team to rework the design and scope, and re-bid in the future.
Every project detail will be reevaluated to identify opportunities to further reduce costs. Some adjustments include the amount of square footage the building needs, aesthetics, and details.
City Officials say they are unwavering in their commitment to minimizing the impact of these changes on the quality, beauty and functionality of the Appleton Public Library building.
The Appleton Public Library will continue to operate at its temporary location, 2411 South Kensington Drive, as the timeline for the project is adjusted.
New bids for the redesign project are anticipated to go out in early 2023.