After a decade of delays, the Northeast Regional Library is finally going to be built.
Wake County Commissioners Monday approved construction of the library, to be located near Forest Pines Drive and Green Elm Lane in Wakefield. Construction is expected to begin this spring and will take about a year to complete.
The library is the only holdover from a 2003 library bond referendum.
About $5.7 million is already allocated toward construction and, once built, the total cost of the library is expected to be $12 million.
At the Oct. 7 meeting, Commissioners requested a redesign to include a meeting space large enough to be used as a polling site. The redesign also included additional restrooms and mechanical equipment to meet state building code requirements.
The redesign cost is an additional $280,000.
Mark Forestieri, director of the facilities design and construction department, presented Commissioners with the requested redesign, but recommended going with the original plan.
Forestieri said there is an existing polling site at North Forest Pine Elementary School, which is across the street from the site of the new library.
“The polling site at this school is located in the media center and appears to work adequately according to the Board of Elections,” Forestieri said. “It is also our understanding that if you actually designate this as a polling space, you can’t just limit it to general elections. It would have to be available for early voting if the Board of Elections deemed that it was needed.”
Forestieri said that operating costs for the additional space have not been identified yet.
Commissioner Paul Coble critiqued the design, saying that the additional space, “doesn’t look like it was added in a very convenient location for people who come and go. We should be looking at this in the future when we design libraries.”
Commissioners ultimately agreed with Forestieri and approved the original plan.
Libraries Get Grant from PNC Foundation
The Wake County library system has been awarded a $125,000 grant from the PNC Foundation.
The money will go toward Grow Up Great: Financial Education Initiative for Young Children. These programs will focus on sharing, spending, saving, value and making good choices.
“We see it as a great opportunity to expand and enhance our current programs and services to children,” said Elena Owens, manager of the West Regional Library.
In addition to the funding, PNC will also provide volunteers, training and financial educators for parents. The program is expected to be funded for two years and will serve about 40,000 children and their parents. During the second year, plans will be put in place to continue the program on a smaller scale.
Full-Time Workers Added to Building Department
Commissioners also agreed to appropriate $244,255 in building permit revenues to hire four full-time employees in the Planning, Development and Inspections Department starting in December.
Building inspections will get three positions; one position will be added for plan reviews.
Fiscal and Policy Analyst Jason Horton said the additional employees will decrease employee workload, reduce the need for overtime and the wait time for building inspections and plan reviews.
The money will be used for salary, benefits, telephones or cell phones, fleet charges and fuel in addition to one-time charges such as vehicle, computer and wireless devices.
Staff numbers were reduced in 2007.
Due to the economic downturn, requests were inspections were steadily declining, but the department experienced an increase in inspection requests in 2012 as the market recovered.