Lexington library ponies up for repairs

$62,500 settlement $300,000 short of cost

jcheves@herald-leader.comJune 29, 2010 

The Lexington Public Library plans to spend about $362,500 to fix construction defects in its Tates Creek branch this summer, requiring the branch to close Aug. 1 through 15.

The library last year sued three contractors who worked on the branch before it opened in 2001, alleging that the building's concrete slab and walls have settled or shifted, causing cracks. But a mediated settlement reached in April yielded the library only $62,500.

Library officials said Monday they have set aside $300,000 from the library's funds to cover the difference. The library has undergone two rounds of budget cuts in the last year, largely because of declining Fayette County tax collections, trimming its materials budget and payroll.

"Obviously we're not entirely happy with the outcome," said Larry Smith, chairman of the library board. "We were looking at a lawsuit and prolonged legal bills. The mediator told us what our best shot was."

Officials at D.W. Wilburn Inc., the original general contractor, declined to comment. Under terms of the settlement, D.W. Wilburn paid $35,000. Architectural firm Brandstetter/Carroll Inc. and engineering firm MACTEC Engineering and Consulting Inc. each paid $13,750.

"I'm sure that we exercise due diligence every time we undertake a construction project," Smith said. "But is there a guarantee every time? I don't think so."

Library spokesman Doug Tattershall said the Tates Creek branch, 3628 Walden Drive, should reopen Aug. 16.

It cost $3.9 million to build.

In its lawsuit in Fayette Circuit Court, the library alleged that the original builders failed to completely excavate and remove all improper fill, improperly installed artificial fill and failed to comply with the geotechnical report, among other problems.

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