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K.G. supervisors balk at library costs
King George supervisors balk at notion of spending almost $800 per chair, and other expenses, as part of addition to Smoot Library

 Crowded conditions caused King George to expand its library; now supervisors are questioning some costs.
FILE/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 10/4/2012

By CATHY DYSON

Four of five King George supervisors raised concerns Tuesday night about a request to spend $300,000 more to furnish and equip the county's expanding library.

Supervisor Ruby Brabo said she had "a hard time paying almost $800 for a chair" for children. She was referring to an item called "children's task seating," which listed for $778. Chairs for adults and young adults cost between $193 and $280, according to the inventory.

"There weren't any children's task chairs in the $300 range?" she asked.

Supervisor Joe Grzeika pointed out that the number of computers would increase dramatically--from nine to 49, according to the request--when the addition opens at the L.E. Smoot Memorial Library at King George Courthouse.

"That's a huge, huge change overnight," Grzeika said. "I'm struggling with this. I think you've got to go back to the drawing board and sharpen your pencil."

Chairman Cedell Brooks Jr. and John LoBuglio agreed.

The only supervisor who didn't was Dale Sisson Jr. He said the library addition was a $5 million project, "and we need to invest in it properly."

Later, when the board was in the middle of a motion for another matter, Sisson brought up the library again. He said it's run by a small department "with four and a half folks and a volunteer board of trustees."

Sisson's wife, Tina, is chairwoman of that board.

Last fall, the supervisors approved spending $4.86 million on a construction project that more than doubles the size of the library. The county also appropriated $800,000 for furniture, technology-related expenses and various fees, said County Administrator Travis Quesenberry.

Even with the extra appropriation, the project needs another $300,000 to cover furniture and upgrades to technology and other systems, library director Robin Tenney said.

The existing building is 10,000 square feet. With the addition, which the contractor should finish in the spring, the Smoot library will be 28,000 square feet, Tenney said.

Initially, the architect, the Lukmire Partnership of Arlington, had a budget of $20 per square foot, Tenney said.

"All the associated parties worked tirelessly" to lower expenses, she said. They brought the cost down to $12 per square foot.

"We have cut over $103,000," Tenney said. "We've cut tables and chairs from the floor and tables from the sitting area. If we cut any more, we're going to have an empty floor."


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