Stearns updates on BF library renovation

Tuesday July 23, 2013

BELLOWS FALLS -- The municipal manager said there is $12,000 left for the renovation of the Rockingham Free Public Library and he thinks the town will break even on the endeavor despite a projection to briefly exceed budget.

Willis D. "Chip" Stearns told the library's board of trustees Monday that, based on the additional work that must be done on the building, the $2.995 million project will likely go $30,000 to $50,000 over budget before being replenished through a litigation process.

Baybutt Construction Corp., a Keene, N.H., -based company, had been hired as the general contractor for the complete renovation at 65 Westminster St. But the project ran into a roadblock when subcontractors refused to continue their jobs and insisted Baybutt had not paid them for the work already done. Rockingham town officials terminated a contract with Baybutt when the corporation's financial woes came to light.

Baybutt Construction did not take out a performance or a payment bond, which acts as a sort of insurance contract and was a project requirement from the town. The company's owner, Frederick L. Baybutt, declared personal bankruptcy in February.

Stearns said any amount over budget should be covered after the town's attorneys battle it out with Baybutt.

The trustees voted controversially to shut down the library until the end of July in order for renovations to be completed by Engelberth Construction Co. The library's services are currently operating out of the former Merchants Bank location in The Square.

At Monday's meeting, Stearns also gave an update on the renovation. He said the elevator will soon be installed and it will likely be inspected on Thursday, Aug. 1. Stearns also said a counter, with working sink, has been added in the staff room and all the paneling is in.

Domenic Poli can be reached at; or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.


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