PITTSFIELD, Maine — After seven years of fundraising, Pittsfield Public Library trustees held their breath when the bids were opened for the planned expansion and renovation project at the historic building.
Through grants, foundations and thousands of dollars in private donations, the group had raised $1.3 million for the project. Nine bids were opened, with the lowest coming in at $908,416.
“The trustees were all jumping around,” Town Manager Kathryn Ruth said Tuesday. “This pricing is exceptional.” Ruth said construction experts told her that this was the best time to bid a major construction project in 12 years. “And the bids definitely reflected that,” she said.
The nine bids ranged up to $1.3 million, and the apparent lowest bidder was Nichols Construction of Hudson.
The project includes a large addition on the east side of the existing building, new circulation desk, a community conference room, a new children’s area, a new main entrance, an expanded computer section, a section for teenagers and other features.
“This is fantastic news,” Doug Frati, head of the library building committee, said Tuesday. “It’s not a question of whether it will be built now. It will be built.”
He said it was exciting that the bids were low enough that all the “extras” were included. “There were alternatives in the bid package, things that we wanted but could forgo if the bids came in too high. These were things like brick pavers versus asphalt. All of the alternatives are in.”
Frati said the bids now are being reviewed by the project’s architect, Richard Reed, the engineers, Kleindschmidt Associates and Cianbro Cos., which has donated its services as construction manager.
“We have to make sure all the specifications were met,” Frati said.
Once a final recommendation is ready, it will be presented to the Town Council at its June 2 meeting for approval.
“We’ll be able to start construction in June, for sure,” Frati said.