The East Baton Rouge Parish Library system hopes to progress on or wrap up several capital projects in the coming days and weeks, including hearing from consultants about the proposed south branch, concluding construction on the new Main Library and moving forward on acquisition of a building to house the Outreach Service Center.
Consultants are scheduled to give desktop engineering and wetland assessments for five proposed sites for a potential south branch to the library board at its meeting on Thursday, Nov. 20. Assistant Library Director Mary Stein says the sites are not a short list, but options that the system is looking into. The board is still taking recommendations for sites, Stein says.
All of the sites are on or near West Lee, Nicholson and Burbank drives and Ben Hur Road. Of the five sites, three are owned by Georgia-based Burbank & Lee Investors LLC, including a 6.7-acre tract on the north side of West Lee Drive, a 22.8-acre tract to the south and 7.6 acres on the west corner of Burbank Drive and Ben Hur Road. Shaun B. Rafferty of New Orleans and H. Hunter White III of Miramar Beach, Florida, manage University PUD LLC, which owns a 13.2-acre tract near Nicholson Drive on Ben Hur Road. The last site is 2 acres near the south corner of Burbank Drive and Ben Hur Road, owned by AFE-PAT LLC, managed by Charles Afeman and Kirk Patrick, both of Baton Rouge.
The Metro Council on Wednesday will consider allowing more time and money to go to the finishing touches of the Main Library at Independence Park. A change order on the agenda asks to extend the contract for construction work an additional 10 days and by $53,000, bringing the total cost to $35,667,598.
This request is the result of only a small change in the scope of work, according to Stein, but library construction did face delays after the discovery of additional asbestos and concrete, which pushed the project into the rainy season.
Stein says the ribbon-cutting for the library is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 22. The Metro Council on Wednesday will also consider the purchase of a nearly 30,000-square-foot building on 1.8 acres of land at 3434 North Blvd. for $1.15 million to house the library system’s bookmobiles, reserve stacks and donated materials. The cost per square foot for the offices is $39.44—much less than the $277 per square foot cost of a new building construction, Stein says. The building has large open spaces that are ideal for book stacks, Stein says, and a data center that can serve as a backup server for the library and can be used by the city-parish.
The Metro Council will meet at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, in its chambers on the third floor of City Hall, 222 St. Louis St. See the full agenda. —Kelly Connelly