Olney Library’s reopening further delayed -- Gazette.Net







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Dec. 30 will mark three full years since the last book was checked out of the Olney Library, before it closed to prepare for an expansion and renovation project.

According to county officials, it likely will be March before the facility reopens.

The construction project has hit numerous snags, leaving the community frustrated.

Although the library closed in 2010, construction did not begin until the spring of 2012. David Dise, director of the county’s Department of General Services, said the initial lag was the result of delays in permitting by the civil engineer.

In July, work slowed to a halt just before the general contractor, Milestone Construction, based in Sterling, Va., informed the county that it was ceasing business operations throughout the region.

Milestone agreed to complete the project, and the county has worked with a surety company and closely monitored the situation to get the work back on track.

At the time, county officials still hoped the facility could open by the end of the year. But in October, they announced the opening had been pushed back to January 2014.

Dise now says it has been further delayed, but could not pinpoint the reasons why.

He said that while Milestone has “limped to the finish,” the project should be “substantially complete” by mid-December.

Once a library is completed, it is turned over to Montgomery County Public Libraries. It will take several weeks to stock the shelves and prepare it for opening.

Dise said the Gaithersburg Library is scheduled to open on Jan. 4, about eight weeks after a new building was turned over to the library system. He said that facility is larger than the Olney Library.

Library Director Parker Hamilton said the current plan for the Olney Library calls for final completion in mid-January, when Montgomery County Public Libraries will take over the facility to prepare it for opening. She expects that will take 6 to 10 weeks from that point.

“That takes us to about mid-March,” she said. “Once we get in and see what needs to be done, we may be on the side of six weeks. When we figure it out, we will give a date to the community, but for now, we just don’t know.”

“All that I can commit to now is that we are all working as quickly as we can, and we all want the library open as soon as possible,” Hamilton added.

The Olney Library, on a 2.5-acre parcel near the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Olney-Laytonsville Road, was built in 1981.

The nearly $13 million project will expand the building from 16,825 square feet to 22,574 square feet. It will include a complete renovation of the interior. The new energy-efficient facility will offer increased seating, an enlarged children’s area, a separate teen area, program rooms, meeting areas, quiet and group study rooms, and new furnishings.