County staff hopes to have the new facility open in the fall or early winter of 2018
Exactly two weeks before the Hamilton Building’s opening as Sarasota County’s interim public library on Venice island, the County Commission approved a $106,623 contract with Ajax Building Corp. and Tandem Construction for preliminary services in the effort to construct another permanent home for the library.
In approving its Sept. 20 Consent Agenda of routine business items, the board officially made the Ajax/Tandem team the construction manager at risk for preconstruction services for the first phase of the new Venice Public Library. The “at risk” designation means company representatives will take the leadership role in overseeing the project and ensuring ultimately that it comes in at or below budget. Both firms are based in Sarasota.
The contract the County Commission approved calls for Ajax and Tandem to provide “design coordination and constructability reviews, value engineering, preparation of project estimates, schedule refinement, bidding … services, and preparation of a guaranteed maximum price [agreement]” for the construction of the new facility, the memo explains.
Ajax and Tandem were honored with the Project of the Year Award in January for their collaboration on the county’s Emergency Operations Center on Cattlemen Road. The North Florida Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors presented the award.
County staff anticipates that the library construction plans will be finished in the fall of 2017, a Sept. 20 staff memo says, which would allow for the project to be completed in the fall of 2018.
On Jan. 12, the County Commission voted to close its facility on the island of Venice because of concerns about persistent mold and the potential negative health consequences for patrons, volunteers and employees. The library had been open since 1965.
In mid-May, the board amended its 2016 fiscal year budget to appropriate $1 million to the first phase of the project to create a new structure; less than a month later — on June 7 — it authorized County Administrator Tom Harmer to begin negotiating with City of Venice leaders to erect the new facility on the Venice Cultural Campus.
On July 15, members of the county’s Professional Services Review Committee “independently evaluated” the nine proposals the county had received from firms interested in serving as the construction manager at risk, the Sept. 20 memo notes. Four companies subsequently were invited to make oral presentations, the memo adds: A.D. Morgan of Manatee County; representatives of Ajax and Tandem; Jon F. Swift of Sarasota; and Willis A. Smith Construction of Sarasota.
After presentations and interviews on July 29, the committee members ranked the Ajax/Tandem team at the top of their list, the memo says.