Proposed Twin Beaches branch library

This designer’s drawing shows what the new Twin Beaches branch library will look like.

Bookworms and other library lovers of all ages have something to look forward to in Calvert County this month. On May 24, ground will be broken for the long-anticipated Twin Beach Library. North Beach won the competition with Chesapeake Beach to gain the approval of the local board of library trustees for the project’s location.

Huntingtown-based Scheibel Construction outbid three out-of-county contractors for the construction project. The county commissioners awarded the contract without discussion as part of their April 26 consent agenda.

“The projected cost for the new Twin Beaches Branch in fiscal year 2022 was $10.1 million,” Carrie Willson, Calvert Library executive director stated in a memo to the county commissioners. “The project’s funding was spread over three fiscal years — FY 2021, 2022 and 2023. The project was bid in March and due to increasing inflation, the lowest bid was over the projected cost by $2.28 million. As of FY 2022, the Twin Beaches Branch capital improvement plan has $4.8 million in construction and will need $6.25 million to cover the project’s lowest bid.”

Willson noted the library project has been awarded $2.3 million in a state library capital grant and an additional allocation of $2.5 million from the governor’s fiscal 2023 budget. In her memo to the commissioners Willson also stated the Calvert Library Foundation has contributed $145,000 to the project with plans for a campaign to more money to help offset construction costs.

The commissioners conducted a public hearing prior to deciding to forward-fund the project with $6.23 million. The funding was a combination of prior year general fund balance ($2.5 million) and a $3.75 million increase in general obligation bonds. No public comment was offered at the hearing, which was also held at the April 26 meeting.

“We don’t want to have to rebid,” said Commissioner President Earl F. “Buddy” Hance (R) in explaining the reason for forward-funding. “We want to get this moving.”

The new library will be located at Chesapeake Avenue and 5th Street in North Beach. During a project presentation to the North Beach Town Council in January 2021, Willson acknowledged that the town contributed $250,000 from a community legacy grant for the project’s design costs.

Some of the project’s original components had to be eliminated last year to keep down costs. The facility will be approximately 18,200 square feet, comprised of three stories with 33 parking spaces in the building’s lower level.

Colimore Architects, working with consultants from Cleveland-based HBM and library officials, developed the design for the new library branch.

The current Twin Beaches branch is located in a leased Chesapeake Beach commercial building.

Twitter: @MartySoMdNews

Twitter: @MartySoMdNews