Dick Anderson wins Missoula library construction contract

Two people walk down the alley on the 400 block of Front Street in downtown Missoula, where a new Missoula Public Library will undergo construction later this year. (Martin Kidston/Missoula Current)

By Martin Kidston/Missoula Current

Within the next few weeks, construction crews are expected to set up shop on Front Street and begin clearing the 400 block for construction of a new Missoula Public Library.

Dick Anderson Construction will serve as the project’s general manager.

Missoula County commissioners on Tuesday approved the contract between the county and the construction firm, which emerged as the winning bidder. The firm will serve as the “at-risk” manager through all phases of the $35 million project.

“They will assemble the phasing of the project, work with the architects to define the different scopes of the project, and they’ll bid out each project to individual contractors,” said Andrew Czorny, the county’s chief financial officer.

“They will then guarantee the price for each phase of work. They’re taking a risk in doing that, but it ends up being a much better process and ends up being less expensive for the library.”

The county used a similar at-risk contractor during renovations of the Missoula County Courthouse and Fort Missoula Regional Park, which remains under construction.

Czorny said the approach helps control costs and holds each subcontractor accountable for the work, as well as the general contractor.

“It’s a much better working relationship because he’s sitting at the table with the architects, the library and ourselves developing the phasing of the project and looking for cost savings,” Czorny said.

A rendering of the new Missoula Public Library.

The sites of the current and future library are expected to change ownership in a transfer slated for May 31, after which crews will begin removing a half-dozen homes to make way for construction.

Earlier this month, commissioners also approved the sale of $3 million in bonds for the library project. The issuance of debt – the first in a series to come – will reimburse the library for costs incurred to date and cover pending demolition costs.

Roughly 57 percent of Missoula County voters approved the library bond last November, clearing the way for the project to proceed. The costs include a 20-year, $30 million bond to construct a modern library just east of the current facility. The remaining $5 million needed is being raised by the library through private donations from area residents and businesses.

Czorny said Dick Anderson came in with the lowest bid to manage the project.

“They did a lot of the work along with A&E Architects, the pre-contract, and trying to put together the conceptual construction of the library,” Czorny said. “They had a lot of information ahead of time and they were very familiar with the project and, as such, they were able to bid it a little lower than the other contractors.”

Contact reporter Martin Kidston at info@missoulacurrent.com