Libraries aim for June reopening

With repairs to be completed in early June, the East End and George Town public libraries are slated to reopen soon, Members heard in Finance Committee.

Construction on the public library in Bodden Town is to start once the tendering process is complete, said a GIS press release.

The library, which will include a new activity/literacy centre and is estimated to cost around $652,000 will take five months to complete after the award of the construction contract, Education Minister Alden McLaughlin told Members last Friday.

Work on the interior of the West Bay Town Hall, converting the facility into a public library, will commence once the building restoration works are complete, the release said.

Finance Committee, under the chairmanship of Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson, considered aspects of the budget for the Ministry of Education, Training, Employment, Youth, Sports and Culture on Friday morning and voted $1.32 million for public library services.

Public libraries in Grand Cayman took quite a beating from Hurricane Ivan in September 2004, sustaining varying degrees of damage. The North Side library, which opened its doors earlier this year, was the first one to open in Grand Cayman after the hurricane.

Despite completion of repairs at the East End library, repeated mould infestations had kept the facility from reopening, Minister McLaughlin said, replying to a query raised by North Side MLA Edna Moyle on the status of repairs to public libraries. Mould reappeared two weeks ago, requiring additional cleaning of walls, he said. The building restoration is now envisaged to be completed for a reopening in early June.

At the George Town Library, which is a designated historic building in Grand Cayman, repairs valuing some $78,000 are to be completed in two weeks. Works already completed include roof replacement, wall restoration, air-conditioning, and re-carpeting, along with raising of the floor slab by six inches, Minister McLaughlin detailed.

Works nearing completion include installation of air-conditioning grills, replacing of window panes and the front glass door. In addition, installation of computer points would be completed through the collaborative efforts of Computer Services, PWD and Cable and Wireless.

‘It should be ready to open in the first week of June,’ Minister McLaughlin said.

As a result of delays in the completion of the tendering process for the Bodden Town Public Library, the Minister said that a contractor had still not been appointed. The works were expected to be completed in five months from the award of the contract.

The conversion of the West Bay Town Hall into a library had been put on hold after Hurricane Ivan, when the accent had to be placed on building restoration. Giving a progress report, he said that the roof had been replaced, wall works are now completed, and bathrooms and the office have been restored.

The remaining works, including installation of windows and completion of electrical works for air conditioning and lighting, are expected to be completed by July/August. Interior work on the library will commence after that and shelving for the library is on order, the release said.

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