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Ahoskie Council selects Library designer

By CAMERON JERNIGAN

Summer Intern

AHOSKIE – On June 29, the Ahoskie Town Council moved forward with plans for the new library.

The public facility, which will be about 7,500 square feet with long term expansion capability of 10,000 square feet, is in the final stages of planning before ground is broken at its new location: on Main Street at the empty lot adjacent to Southern Bank and near First Presbyterian Church.

At the Council’s previous meeting on June 9, Town Manager Hammond presented three RFQ’s (Request for Qualifications) from contracting firms interested in the project. They came from The Wooten Company in Raleigh, Darden J Eure & Associates from New Bern, and Oakley Collier in Rocky Mount.

It was decided at that meeting for a committee to be created, consisting of the town manager, two council members, and two from the Library board, to review the RFQ’s and report back to council with a decision. The members from Library Board for the committee were Harriet Byrum and Patricia Hughes. They were chosen by the members of the library committee, much like council members Elaine Myers and C. David Stackhouse were appointed by the rest of the council.

The library committee members sat down and reached a decision. Meanwhile, Hammond, Myers and Stackhouse sat down and also made a decision.

“We came in and we sat down – what we did was we actually set the RFP’s (Request for Proposal) down and read them each one at a time,” Hammond explained. “The library members sat down with their whole group and reviewed the RFP’s. They came back with their selection, and Mrs. Myers, Rev. Stackhouse, and I came back with our selection and we’re all the same,” he explained. “It’s Oakley Collier.”

The architecture firm is based in Rocky Mount, NC and has worked for the town before. They designed the town’s new Fire Station, where the council meeting took place. They, like the other firms, have experience building municipal buildings. They also have experience building a library from scratch, something that the other contracting firms haven’t done, Hammond said.

Stackhouse said Oakley Collier is an experienced company that met all their criteria for qualification.

While all the firms taken into consideration were highly qualified, he noted familiarity with Oakley Collier as the driving force in choosing them to build the library. Since their office is only a little over an hour from Ahoskie, they plan to have a representative on site daily to make sure things are running smoothly. Darden J Eure and Associates in New Bern and The Wooten Company in Raleigh are both are almost two hours away. The chance of having a representative on site daily would have been somewhat unlikely if they were chosen.

Funding from the project will come from the USDA-funded grant, donations from the late Julian Robertson of Boyette and Robertson Insurance Agency, and from money that the Library has raised.

The motion to approve Oakley Collier as the contractor for the new Library was made by Stackhouse and was approved in a unanimous decision. Mayor Brien Lassiter, Councilwoman Myers and Councilman Vann were not in attendance.