CdM ‘Fibrary’ is On Budget, Ahead of Schedule

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An artist’s rendering of the Corona del Mar “Fibrary,” a combo project of the CdM library branch and the local fire station.
— Photo courtesy the city of Newport Beach ©

The much-anticipated Corona del Mar library and fire station combo project is on budget and slightly ahead of schedule, officials confirmed this week.

The Board of Library Trustees heard an update Monday on the CdM project, dubbed the “fibrary.”

The project is currently running about one week ahead of schedule, Public Works Senior Civil Engineer Peter Tauscher reported.

Although it’s slightly ahead of schedule now, city officials are still anticipating completion of the project in June 2019, Tauscher explained in an email later this week.

“We are on time and budget,” Tauscher concluded.

The projects consist of a completely rebuilt and modernized library alongside what will become the new fire station #5 on Marigold Avenue. Construction, contingencies, and related costs (including the initial conceptual planning, studies and bid work before the project was put on hold) are estimated to be $8.82 million for the library – fire station combo.

Monday’s presentation was only an update, so the board offered no direction and there was no vote or action, noted Library Services Director Tim Hetherton.

Board members were pleased with the project’s process, and both Hetherton and Tauscher agreed that it’s going well.

“So far, the project is going well, the local residents, fire personnel and library staff appear happy with the progress,” Tauscher noted. “We have a good synergy among city staff, construction contractor and design team.”

During the last few weeks the shear walls were framed to enclose the building. The beams are installed, and the interior steel is currently being connected to the foundation.

In City Manager Dave Kiff’s Aug. 10 newsletter, Public Works Director Dave Webb wrote that a “topping off” ceremony was held that involved placing the last structural beam for the building.

Members of the Newport Beach library staff, Board of Library Trustees, City Council, and fire and other city departments at the “topping off” ceremony for the Corona del Mar library and fire station project, or fibrary.
— courtesy city of Newport Beach ©

“Prior to its placement, the beam was signed by City Council members and key individuals involved with the project,” Webb wrote.

Topping out symbolizes positive things, like good luck for future occupants, continued growth, or a safe job, he added. It celebrates an important milestone in the building’s construction.

Members of library staff, the Board of Library Trustees, City Council, and fire and other city departments signed the beam (both prior to and during the event) and attended the ceremony.

By the end of the month, the interior walls on both floors should be framed.

“Over the next few weeks, construction crews will be working on the rough plumbing and electric items; installing roof trusses and mansard wall; and preparing the apparatus bay for the finish floor,” Tauscher explained in an email.

The city is also looking at various options for sound abatement, including using cork.

The next major step will be pouring the apparatus bay floor, which should happen the first week of September, Tauscher commented.

The project has been discussed for several years.

In 2014, both buildings were identified for replacement. Conceptual plans for a combined project were presented to the public, Library Board of Trustees, and City Council in 2015. But when bids were submitted in late 2016, they were higher than anticipated and staff recommended rejection.

In early 2017, the project was on hold (possibly for a suggested five to seven years), primarily due to budget concerns.

Earlier this year, Council members unanimously agreed to move forward with the on-again, off-again project on Feb. 27.

Out of the 16 bids for the project, Orange-based TELACU Construction Management, Inc., came out on top as the most affordable at $6.72 million, and was selected as the contractor. Construction (contract plus an 8 percent contingency) is estimated at $7.26 million.

GKK Works Inc., was chosen as the construction management company, and WLC Architects Inc., will provide design support.

The budget also includes $340,000 for relocation efforts, $483,000 for consultants, and $245,000 for specialty items, utilities and miscellaneous. Previous expenditures for design, outreach, value engineering, and past bidding add up to $492,000.

The “all-in” cost equals out to $8.82 million.

The fibrary is being paid for out of the city’s Facilities Financing Program, a savings account-like fund made up of developer fees and general fund contributions and earmarked for replacing aging structures.

According to the city’s website, the FFP is a “long-term financial plan to fund the construction and or renovation of important community serving facilities.”

The CdM fire station and library were constructed at different times, but both more than 60 years ago. Both have exceeded their service lives, requiring frequent repairs, according to city staff.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held April 17.

The new library is scheduled to open in summer of 2019.

The old CdM branch library.
— Photo courtesy city of Newport Beach
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