Township Library Contract Awarded; Other Decisions Stalled

Bryn Mawr's Ludington Library project remains behind schedule.

The Lower Merion Board of Commissioners Finance Committee postponed its vote on whether to recommend a contract for hiring an owner’s representative for the Bala Cynwyd Library Renovations Project, but the full board approved another contract to provide moving and storage services for the project.

The Bala Library Renovation Project will add 6,000 square feet to the building, install a geothermal HVAC System, reorganize interior space for logic and efficiency, and replace old shelving and furnishings as needed. An ancillary project will upgrade the library's book and materials tracking system using Radio Frequency Identification. As noted, the project is anticipated to last one year, with Bala expected to re-open in early 2013.

The library is scheduled to . 

The Finance Committee had been scheduled to vote on whether to award Foreman Program and Construction Managers a $146,300 contract serve as the owner’s representative for the project.

However, the vote was tabled because more time is needed to consider the topic, said Commissioner Paul McElhaney, chairman of the Finance Committee and vice chair of the board.

Commissioner Scott Zelov said it was important to have an owner’s representative on board at the start of the renovation and construction project in order to “reduce the risk of finger pointing and blame” and avoid some of the problems that have occurred with the Ludington Library Renovation Project.

Responsibilities of the owner’s representative will include oversight of scheduling to maintain the project schedule; quality control to ensure that there are no shortcuts taken as a result of low bid; and financial oversight to minimize change orders, taking an active role in managing the project’s contractors, according to a memorandum from Assistant Township Manager Patricia Ryan, which was included with the meeting agenda.

Although the library is closing on Dec. 31, the building will not be turned over to contractors until Jan. 23, so there is still time for an owner’s representative to be hired and for the representative to meet with the contractors before work starts, Ryan said during the meeting.


During the course of the discussion, Township Manager Doug Cleland provided an update on the Ludington Library.

Cleland said he was “pleased to report” that it had not been necessary to terminate the Ludington Library Project’s plumbing contract.

In November, the board authorized Cleland to terminate the plumbing contract for default if the contractor, Altchem, failed to comply with its contract.

Since that time, the contractor has returned to the job and has started work on the sprinkler system, Cleland said.

Cleland said the project was “still not without its challenges” in terms of working with several contactors in a low-bid environment.

The township thought the project would be done by Dec. 16, Cleland said, but “that day’s come and gone and we’re not done.”

Bala: Moving and storage contract

In a separate action, the full board awarded an $87,727 contract to Wayne Moving & Storage Company of West Chester, to provide moving and storage services for the Bala Cynwyd Library.

The moving and storage contract consists of two phases. 

The first phase will take place in January 2012 and consist of moving Bala Cynwyd’s books, materials, furnishings and equipment to three other library locations for short-term and longer-term storage; moving these items from short-term storage to the Lower Merion Library System’s Processing Center when Ludington Library reopens; and maintaining some furnishings and equipment in longer term storage until Bala Cynwyd Library reopens.

The second phase is scheduled for January 2012 and will involve returning items which were stored at three library locations to the Bala Cynwyd Library; and returning furnishings and equipment from longer-term storage to Bala Cynwyd Library.

Bala Closing Service Plan and Additional Information:

Second largest of Lower Merion's six neighborhood libraries, the Bala Library has been Lower Merion's backup Central Resource Library since Ludington (Bryn Mawr) closed for renovation in late April 2010. Because Ludington will probably open at least two months after Bala closes, the following Service Plan has been developed during the period in which Lower Merion's two largest libraries will be closed:

  • Beginning January 3, 2012, additional hours will be offered at the Ardmore Library (including Sundays) until Ludington reopens. The hour of operation will be 9 AM - 9 PM Monday - Thursday; 9 AM - 6 PM Friday; 9 AM - 5 PM Saturday and Noon - 5 PM Sunday.
  • Beginning on January 9, 2012, an Ardmore Library Annex will be offered at the Lower Merion Library System (LMLS) Processing Center Meeting Room across the Parking Lot from the Ardmore Library. "The Ardmore Annex will provide additional public computer access three nights per week, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, as well as Saturdays and Sundays until Ludington reopens." remarked Christine Steckel, Director of Libraries.  Proposed Annex hours are 5 PM - 9 PM on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday; 9 AM - 5 PM on Saturday and Noon - 5 PM on Sunday.
  • Beginning January 23, 2012, additional Children's Story Hours will be offered at both the Belmont Hills Library and the Penn Wynne Library.

Information on public libraries near the Bala Cynwyd Library, including Lower Merion's five smaller libraries, will be well publicized on www.lmls.org with contact information, and available hours. Neighboring libraries include:

  • The Wynnefield Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia (0.6 miles)
  • The Narberth Community Library (MCLINC - 1.7 miles)
  • The Belmont Hills Library (LMLS-MCLINC - 1.8 miles)
  • Penn Wynne Library (LMLS-MCLINC - 3.0 miles)
  • The Gladwyne Free Library (LMLS-MCLINC - 4.1 miles)
  • The Ardmore Free Library (LMLS-MCLINC - 4.3 miles)
  • The Haverford Township Free Library (DELCO - 5.2 miles)
  • Ludington Lite (LMLS-MCLINC - 5.7 miles)

"Most books and materials may be reserved electronically, sent to any MCLINC library for pickup, and returned to any Pennsylvaniastate-aided library," added Steckel. Combined staffing will offer: additional Ardmore and Ardmore Annex hours; additional Children's Programming in the Bala area, additional workforce for Ludington RFID tasks, and materials processing help for both Bala and Ludington.

Walter Ebmeyer December 23, 2011 at 11:15 AM
Wasn't a penalty clause written into the Ludington plumber's contract so his payment is docked for every day the project is overdue?


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