Trustee: Library Board Needs New Contractor, New President
September 25, 2013 — A member of Gary Public Library’s Board of Trustees says that when the Board meets tonight, it could cancel its agreement with a contractor who was renovating Gary’s main library into a museum.
Board Trustee Robert Buggs says that a cancellation letter is one of tonight’s Board issues for action. He says he wants the building at 220 West 5th Avenue to remain a library, where contractor Powers & Sons Contruction have spent two years performing demolition and remodeling to convert the facility to a museum and cultural center. That work followed Board approval for the remodel as a budget-control measure, saying the center would be less costly to operate than the library, while authorizing a contract for nearly $3-million for the construction work.
Buggs says the Board needs to evaluate the cost of restoring the building as a library, and he’d consider building a new facility that includes current technology if that move is more cost effective than continuing work on the old library.
He says that the Board tried three times to get Powers & Sons to adjust its contract and proceed with restoration of the library for less that $2-million, yet the contractor remains noncommittal. Buggs says an agreement cancellation with Powers & Sons would allow the Board to re-bid the library project.
Buggs also says the Board needs to select a president after acting Board President Nancy Valentine left the last meeting while resigning the presidency role for the seven-member panel.