The Home Stretch
March 20, 2023
Attempting to put up a building during a global pandemic is not for the faint hearted. For the third year in a row, we’ve watched in shock as construction costs have skyrocketed. In 2021 and 2022 the escalating costs were due to remarkable rates of new construction. In 2023, in contrast, the high costs are largely due to the backlog remaining from the previous two years, primarily in the roofing and framing sectors. Material costs have gone down but labor shortages remain problematic, such that it continues to be exceedingly difficult to get competitive bids.
We tell you this not to elicit sympathy but to explain that it’s a minor miracle that we are still going to be able to build the expanded Jeudevine this year. With the receipt of a major new grant from the State of Vermont Community Recovery and Revitalization Program—designed for pandemic-affected projects like ours—we are in the ballpark to sign a contract and build. That’s the excellent news. The less-excellent news is that the continued high costs mean we can’t yet sign a contract for a fully finished building. Given the continued inflation in costs, we’re able to put up the building and finish the top floor and exterior, but the lower floor will remain unfinished until we garner more funding.
Which means we are indeed in the home stretch. An expanded library will go up this year and will be used as fully as we are able. If you can pitch in to help us finish the community rooms on the lower level, please consider a gift. We’re in the process of filling a gap of approximately $200,000—and we can do this! We’ve come this far and raised nearly $3.1 million. We can raise this last part too.
Jodi Lew-Smith Chair, Jeudevine Memorial Library Board of Trustees
Hello Supporters of the Jeudevine Library! News as of July 2022!
We have good and bad news to relate. As you have heard, the expansion project was upended by the pandemic and the inflated construction costs that ensued. When we went out to bid year, the bids were 50% over the original budget. We raised money and got an earmark appropriation by Senator Leahy’s office for $600,000 and have $2.43 million raised which we thought would cover the project.
The bad news is that we had a new round of bids this spring and they came in at slightly over $3 million. The bids were so close to one another indicates they are responsible bids reflecting the pandemic-induced inflation of costs—but they are $600,000 over last year's budget, which is a full 50% increase once again. The low bidder was E. F. Wall and Associates of Barre, VT.
One of our funders, the USDA Rural Development office, will not sign off until all the funds are in place and they require a 10% contingency, making the project a $3.3 million-dollar project.
The Trustees are working at raising more money. The VT Department of Libraries is receiving an appropriation of $16.4 million for library construction grants, but the application process won't start until 2023. The library is also negotiating with the contractors to see if they can find ways to lower the costs of the project.
Please continue to support our project! If anyone has any ideas on how to raise the rest of the needed funds, please contact us. Call 802-472-5948 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your support!
Phone: (802) 472-5948
Address: Jeudevine Memorial Library
93 North Main St.
P.O. Box 536
Hardwick, VT 05843
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