Preliminary cost estimate is about $3M to renovate Masonic Temple

A site study was of the Masonic Temple was done to see if it is a viable option for the expansion of Alfred Dickey Public Library.

JAMESTOWN — A preliminary cost estimate to renovate the Masonic Temple for an expansion of Alfred Dickey Public Library is about $3 million, according to Lee Dobrinz, architect and project manager for JLG Architects. Dobrinz told the James River Valley Library System Board of Directors that the preliminary cost estimate does not include the price to acquire the Masonic Temple or a hazardous material abatement. The library board took no action on the issue.In September, the library board approved a site study of the Masonic Temple to see if it is a viable option for the expansion of Alfred Dickey Public Library. The cost of the site study is $15,600. Dobrinz said the costs are based on a predesign process only. The costs are based on the design team’s preliminary understanding of the existing building conditions and a combination of typical cost-per-square-foot analysis and estimated lump-sum costs of certain items, according to an expansion study done by JLG Architects, CMTA Inc. and Heyer Engineering Inc. “The estimate is based on what would be expected to complete the remodeling of the existing spaces to function according to the ‘space use diagrams’ that were developed as a part of this study,” the study says. The construction cost estimate is also based on assuming a construction start of 2024.

The preliminary cost estimate includes over $950,000 for the lower level of the Masonic Temple, about $30,000 for the main level, almost $119,000 for the upper level and $1.1 million for mechanical and electrical upgrades .Soft costs — architectural fees, furniture, fixtures, equipment and building acquisition costs — are estimated at more than $410,000. Optional costs such as remodeling an upper level room and existing basement boiler room for storage among others are estimated at more than $423,000. A 15% contingency cost was added in for the items. Contingency fees are built into an anticipated price for a project to account for other items that come up during the renovation of the building. Dobrinz said the estimated new construction cost is about $8 million for a facility on a new site with the same total square footage as the Masonic Temple. The site study involves using the space-needs study that was done in 2022, which determined 36,086 square feet was needed for the library system presently and in the future. That space included 2,136 square feet for entry and community spaces, 5,850 for the children’s library, 2,230 for the teen library, 12,091 for the adult library and 6,562 for administration and support. A 25% gross square footage was added that accounts for wall thicknesses, hallways, stairs, elevator and spaces where wires and pipes run through. Alfred Dickey Public Library is about 12,000 square feet. The total square footage is 15,000 for the Masonic Temple’s lower, main and upper levels. Dobrinz said the library board will need to consider if the cost of renovating and upgrading the Masonic Temple combined with the costs to acquire the site provide long-term solutions for growth. He also said the pros and cons of the location need to be considered along with the operational logistics and costs. In other business, the library board:

  • approved on a 4-2 vote to close the Stutsman County and Alfred Dickey libraries on Saturday, Dec. 23. Library board members Gail Martin and Joan Morris, a Stutsman County commissioner appointed to the board, were opposed. Joe Rector, library system director, said Alfred Dickey Public Library is normally closed on Sundays and staff would not get holiday pay for the library being closed on Sunday, Dec. 24. The staff would only be paid for five hours on Dec. 23 for holiday pay. Rector said the staff normally gets holiday pay for Dec. 24-25. Stutsman County Library is closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Martin and Morris said Alfred Dickey should stay open so patrons can get books and other items before the holidays.
  • unanimously approved a 5% cost-of-living adjustment for all employees except for three new people. The library board also approved a raise for one staff member because her job has evolved to take on more responsibilities. The cost in additional salary including fringe benefits is about $35,000 annually.