Design work continues for the new Delaware County District Library branch in Powell, and leaders still anticipate breaking ground in the summer.

But they said the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and subsequent restrictions have brought many unknowns into the process.

Library director George Needham said the hope is to have a groundbreaking ceremony in the summer at the site, within the Middlebury Crossing development at Home and Steitz roads.

That would be followed by preliminary site work, with construction of the 20,000- to 25,000-square-foot building set to begin in the fall following approval of the design by the city of Powell’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

“We are continuing to work with the architect and construction manager on our plans, but we do not have a firm handle at this point on what the pandemic may do to the schedule,” Needham said.

“Regarding the project schedule, right now, we are not anticipating any delay from the initial schedule projections due to the current COVID-19 circumstances,” said Todd Reiser, preconstruction manager with Marker, the library’s construction manager at risk.

The term manager at risk applies to additional liabilities assumed by the firm in addition to oversight on construction.

“The design is progressing and will be submitted for planning and zoning approvals to allow for a fall start,” Reiser said.

Shea McMahon, office director for the Columbus office of SHP, the library’s architectural firm for the project, said most involved with the design phase have transitioned to working from home, but that has not impacted their progress.

“It seems like the process has been uninterrupted by the shift to remote work,” McMahon said. “We are continuing to make progress on the schematic design with our architects and engineers.”

McMahon also said the full design team has been meeting to attempt to predict any unforeseeable circumstances related to coronavirus and any shutdown restrictions.

Needham said the library intends to purchase the portion of the land in the development on which the new library will sit from developer John Wicks.

The cost of the project is anticipated to be $7.5 million, not counting the cost of the land purchase.

Delaware County voters’ renewal of a 1-mill levy in November 2018 will allow the library – the fifth in the county’s system – to be built, library leaders have said.

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