I find it amazing that the Silver Spring Library building, which just broke ground this week, is already three million over budget. Disappointingly, there are already discussions as to what features are going to get purged from the current design to reduce the project's cost. Some possibilities include "eliminating a floor of offices, leaving a floor of offices unfinished, moving meeting rooms, splitting elevators into two separate areas and reducing office sizes".
The "good" news is that the economy is so crappy and people so desperate for work, the County believes it can get the work done at cut-rate pricing, offsetting at least some of the cost overrun.
I found interesting the "community's" insistence that the escalators in the current plan be preserved. Maintaining escalators is a costly burden - just ask Metro! Why not just substitute stairs for the elevators? Shouldn't the county be promoting healthy habits such as walking up stairs, anyway? If you are physically unable to do so, there's always the elevator.
One aspect of the current design I don't fully comprehend is how two of the library's five planned floors are allotted to Pyramid Atlantic, a non-governmental arts organization. I have nothing against Pyramid Atlantic, and I'm generally in favor of supporting the arts, but how do these organizations get such sweetheart deals in pricey taxpayer-funded buildings? Round House Theater occupies a good portion of the new Civic Building rent-free, though in response to public scrutiny they gave some of it back for general community use.
And to the many vociferous proponents of the library bridge - does this new revelation about the library's cost change your stance on the addition of a feature that would add (at least) $700K to the project's price tag?
I still contend that the County should have bought City Place and converted it into a library. Besides a superior central location, the entire building would have only cost $22.8M (vs. the new library's $32 million), it has plenty of escalators, and best of all it already has a pedestrian bridge! Furthermore, it has street-level tenants that would provide monthly rental income. You missed your chance, MoCo.
- A couple years back I half-jokingly suggested that DTSS install the Mosquito anti-loitering equipment in response to recent incidents in that area. Now, as a result of teenage misbehavior, the owners of the Gallery Place development in D.C. have installed that very device outside the entrance to the Metro station. This was done with the blessing of the District government. It will be interesting to see what effect this has.
- Be aware that a new speed camera has been installed in front of White Oak Middle School on New Hampshire Avenue.
- Aaron Neville will be headlining the Silver Spring Jazz Festival on September 11.