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September 11, 2004
By: Arie Wilson, Courier Staff

 

East County - Construction on the 3.5 million R. B. Tullis Library is expected to begin next week.

The EMCID donated land located next to the EMCID building in New Caney for the project and $500,000 for construction costs.

"We wanted to offset some of the construction costs and provide funding so the building will be a little nicer to look at," East Montgomery County Improvement District President Frank McCrady said.

The project originally was expected to cost $3.3 million, but the nine bids submitted for the project ranged from $3.78 million to $4.2 million. In July, the EMCID Board of Directors voted to provide an additional $263,872 for land preparation before construction could begin. The funds were available for the project because money was left over from the construction of the EMCID's building. McCrady said the EMCID also has pledged an additional $187,000 for future site improvements, bringing the district's total investment in the library to nearly $1 million.

The current library, located at 21130 U.S. 59, has outgrown the 6,000-square-foot facility, McCrady said. The new 30,000-square-foot library will take 12-16 months to complete. "It wasn't large enough for kids to fit inside if we have a summer reading program," McCrady said. "It's not to the size or standard residents would expect from a community that residents want to live in."

McCrady said the EMCID is still in litigation involving water lines constructed outside of the easement areas, but the project will not be slowed by it. "(The lines) are on an individual's property, and the district does not have access to them," McCrady said. "Certainly we can go to court, but we'd like to settle this before it gets there." McCrady said the issue could be tied up in the legal system for months.

Mark Bosma, the county's purchasing agent, said the new facility will be equipped with the latest technology. "They are trying to upgrade to Voice-Over-IP, a new way of running data and telephone lines together," Bosma said. "With the current telephones, if one is unplugged from the wall, then it has to be reprogrammed completely. This will allow for easier maintenance." The new library will also be furnished with fiber optics and better computer systems.

"It will give Montgomery County residents better access to the Internet and computers," Bosma said.

Arie Wilson can be reached at awilson@mail.hcnonline.net.

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