Sparkey Electric, Northern Lumber submit low bids for new lights, carpet and flooring

    Amid a smattering of applause from library proponents and stakeholders in the audience, the Crookston City Council’s Ways & Means Committee this week unanimously approved accelerating plans to install new carpet/flooring and LED lighting at the Crookston Library this year in order for the upgrades to coincide with renovated bathrooms and new furniture, fixtures and equipment made possible by a $125,000 Otto Bremer Trust grant.

    Previously, the council’s constantly evolving capital improvement plan had the new carpet, flooring and lighting projects being undertaken in 2019 and 2020. But in order to maximize the “wow factor” and also increase the efficiency and cost-savings that comes with doing all of the projects at once, the council green-lighted moving funds from the Municipal Land & Building Fund to help cover the costs of doing the carpet, flooring and lighting projects now, along with an assist to the tune of around $30,000 from library reserves.

    The council previously agreed to put the carpet, flooring and lighting projects out for bids, in order to evaluate them and see if the best bet was to move forward now. The bids came back favorably and, even better yet in the eyes of council members, both low bids were from local/area vendors. Sparkey Electric’s low bid of $29,000 for the LED lighting was approved, in addition to the $37,774.90 low bid from Northern Lumber for the new carpet and flooring. That brings the total costs of the two projects to $66,774.90.

    Council members agreed that it was highly likely that the bids would only increase if they waited until 2019 or 2020 to do the two projects.

    Meanwhile, work will also soon commence on all of the upgrades made possible by the Otto Bremer Trust grant. The trust has also said it will match, up to $25,000, local funds raised in addition to the $125,000. LARL Crookston Branch Director Chris Boike said approximately $13,200 has been raised so far, with the goal of getting to the $25,000, which would maximize the total funding at $175,000.

    City Administrator Shannon Stassen said the replacement of the two bathrooms will be huge for the library and its visitors. The current men’s and women’s restrooms will be completely remodeled and converted to two ADA-compliant family-style restrooms with baby-changing stations and touch-free faucets, soap dispensers and towel dispensers.

    With all of the projects being undertaken at once, Boike said library staff and volunteers will only have to move things once in order to create space for the work to be done.

    “Doing this all at once just makes the entire project come together that much better,” Boike said.

    Ward 3 Council Member Clayton Briggs, who represents the council on the Lake Agassiz Regional Library Board, endorsed moving up the carpet, flooring and lighting timeline, citing the favorable bids and maximized efficiency. “Now is the time, let’s get it all down now,” he said.

    Boike said all of the work will be finished by the end of the year. The plan is for the library to remain open during the entirety of the projects, she added.

    Asked by Ward 2 Council Member Steve Erickson if all of the upgrades will put the facility in good shape overall for the foreseeable future, Boike said it will be a drastic improvement, but that there are things that will need to be addressed at the City-owned property, such as new exterior lighting and new windows, the latter of which are the original windows from when the library was built 34 years ago. The central air equipment is also original, she added, and likely in need of replacing soon.