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updated: 4/5/2010 1:54 PM

Glen Ellyn library renovations go to bid

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Glen Ellyn Public Library officials have taken the first steps in a project they hope will fix mistakes they say were made during the building's initial construction in 1995.

The library is accepting bids from contractors until April 6 on work to repair the building's roof and facade

"We've been moving as quickly as we can on everything," Business Manager Maria Tachna said. "We don't know what's going to come back but we're hoping to get six or seven good, qualified bids."

In November, the village approved borrowing $3 million on the library's behalf. Since that time, a series of construction meetings led to the bid requests.

It all has been part of an effort to make up for shortcuts taken during the building of the $6.7 million facility that some officials have partially blamed for about $300,000 in past maintenance costs. The work slowly depleted the library's cash reserves and ultimately led to a request for a property tax levy increase to create the library's first maintenance fund.

Both supporters and detractors were vocal while the village considered issuing the bonds. Proponents praised the library as a strong community asset while opponents questioned the proposal's timing.

Included in the $3 million are $1.7 million in roof masonry work and elevation repairs, as well as $500,000 in heating and air conditioning work.

With the work set to begin, Tachna said patrons should expect construction throughout the summer. Because the primary work in the project's first stage will happen on the third floor, which is home to a meeting room and administrative offices, she said she doesn't expect too much disruption of daily services.

Aside from the installation of a passive ventilation system -- which uses already-present air flow to equalize pressure throughout a building -- library marketing associate Ann McDonald said the second floor eventually will be reconfigured to allow for extra computer space.

She said she expects there to be heavy scrutiny from the public as officials move forward.

"When the building was built, we didn't use the funds we had as efficiently as we could have," she said. "We certainly want to this time and will be held accountable for how we use this next money to make sure everything is done correctly."