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Library work is on schedule

Construction on the new Robert Trail Library and License Center keeps trucking forward and residents likely have noticed it's starting to to look like a real building.

This week windows are being installed on the east and west ends and flooring is being poured. Next week crews will start to focus on the building's interior including electric work and putting up walls.

Dakota County started construction in September on a 23,000 sq. ft. library and license center in Rosemount along South Robert Trail next to the former St. Joseph's Church building. The license center will take up 1,000 sq. ft. of the building and will replace the current center in Rosemount City Hall.

While the rainy weather this spring caused some delays, project manager Steve Saienga said construction continues on schedule and barring any other significant slow downs construction should be complete by the end of October complete with landscaping.

"The site should look complete by September," said Saienga.

As the building has gone up over the months, the county's budget for the project has gone down a little.

"So far we've stayed on budget and actually a little under," Saienga said.

When the project was bid, there was a lot of interest in it which led to favorable prices. Saienga guessed the slow construction market is why the county received good bids.

The estimated cost to build the project was $5.53 million. Cost for books and furnishings is estimated at $1.45 million.

While construction crews are busy putting together the building, library staff is busy collecting materials to go into it. Assistant director of system services and technology Mary Johnson said other libraries in the county have been collecting materials such as newspapers for the new one.

In addition she said a company named Baker and Taylor Inc. has been contracted to buy books and materials and get them ready to go on shelves. Johnson said Baker and Taylor is used by the county to purchase many of its materials.

The new library will have more than 45,000 items including books, newspapers, magazines, computers and reference materials.

Getting all that together is no small task said Johnson. Baker and Taylor and the other Dakota County libraries have been collecting materials for nearly a year and will continue to do so until it opens.

There are literally millions of books out there so the library has to be selective about what goes onto its shelves. Johnson said a different person choses books for the various sections for all the county's libraries such as adult, teen and children's.

The people who select the materials try and chose a broad range of materials while also getting popular books that library goers will use, Johnson said.

"The people who do the selections are very adept at what they do," she added.

Library staff hope to get into the new building sometime late this year. It will take them several months to get everything on the shelves and ready for the public.

"There is an incredible amount of work to be done," Johnson said.