McCall City Council awards library contract despite funding gap

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The McCall Public Library expansion will move forward but at a higher price. 

The McCall City Council voted to award contracts to start construction on the library revamp- however $3.4 million is needed to cover a funding gap.  

Last year the library expansion crew became aware of project cost increases as BoiseDev reported.

The bond that the city voted to pass was $4.2 million and at the time of the election, the library was expected to cost about $6.2 million. Now the project is estimated to cost $10.4 million. 

“CM was then able to go and research the real costs of these specific materials. Lumber prices were skyrocketing metal prices were going up,” Public Works Director Nathan Stewart said. “So when we got into November when we had a 90% design we were in a real difficult situation. We realized the project was greatly higher than what was originally intended. And yet that was a true reflection of the actual cost to construct this building and 2022 and beyond.”

[Voters say yes to expanded McCall Library project]

Stewart said the team at CM Companies was exploring various ways to reduce costs such as lowering the roof. However, they found that even though making these changes was reducing the project costs; the price of the material and labor were going up as the bottom line was not being reduced. 

“I’m not excited that the project is as expensive as it is,” Stewart said. “But unfortunately, that’s a reflection of the world we’re living in.”

McCall City Manager Anette Spickard presented ways the city could help shovel more money towards the gap, including using $2.2. million of surplus city funds

“My first recommendation to you is that we take what we can and allocate it to the library capital improvement project to make sure this project can be executed,” Spickard said. “And then we’ll be recommending setting aside $500,000 for other critical capital improvement projects and other departments that the majority of that resource will be dedicated to this project over the next two years to ensure it can be done.”

Library Director Meg Lojek spoke to council about how she has heard people talk about a square footage reduction to bring the price down- though Lojek, who visited many other libraries, found that the proposed size was good for McCall.

“I got to see firsthand and walk into libraries that are the same square footage as what we are proposing to build,” Library Director Meg Lojek said. “I realized it is not too big, and it’s not going to be overbuilt for our town. So I really wanted to share that with you tonight to reassure you that we’re not overbuilding, the cost increase is not due to biting off more than we should be chewing.”

The revamped library is planned to be complete in May 2023. 

Autum Robertson - BoiseDev Reporter
Autum Robertson - BoiseDev Reporter
Autum Robertson is a BoiseDev reporter focused on Meridian and McCall. Contact her at [email protected].

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