Hoosier Desk demo could begin in early May

Exterior view from Third Avenue (Artist renderings provided)

By LEANN BURKE
lburke@dcherald.com

JASPER — Demolition crews could roll into downtown Jasper as early as the beginning of May to begin dismantling the Hoosier Desk building.

The roughly 100-year-old building sits at the corner of Third and Mill streets on land that will become the Jasper Cultural Center. The Cultural Center will unite the Jasper Community Arts Commission and Jasper Public Library in one building. Currently, the Jasper Public Library owns the land and its board opened nine demolition bids at the beginning of the month. The demolition bids were one of several parts of the project the library board discussed at its meeting Thursday.

When the board first sent out requests for demolition bids, the Jasper Utility Service Board partnered on the request and sent bids for the demolition of the 15th Street power plant at the same time. The boards hoped offering the projects together would save both projects money. That turned out not to be the case, so the two boards will proceed separately.

However, Library Board President Dean Vonderheide told the board Thursday he felt the partnership still helped them get a good value on the demolition due to the number of bids received.

Hafer Associates of Evansville, the architectural firm working on the Cultural Center, is looking over the bids to make sure the companies are reputable and the bids meet the specifications. As of now, Hafer has narrowed the bids to three and will make a recommendation to the library board in the coming weeks. Once the board approves a bid, the board will award the project and draw up a contract for the demolition. The chosen company should receive a notice to proceed with the work in early May and could begin deconstruction immediately.

Due to Hafer’s work on the demolition, which wasn’t included in the initial contract with the company, the library board approved a change order to the contract that will add $16,500 to be split between the Jasper Public Library and Jasper Community Arts Commission. The library board approved paying half the change order, $8,250. The arts commission approved paying its half at its meeting last week.

“I don’t think from the contracts they expected to be this involved in the demolition work,” Library Director Christine Golden said.

Board attorney Bill Shaneyfelt said he reviewed the original contract and didn’t find any agreement on demolition work.

The arts commission and library board have also approved a contract for interior design work on the Cultural Center with Hafer for an amount not to exceed $45,000. The cost of the work will be figured hourly and be shared between the arts commission and Jasper Public Library. Hafer will work with local companies to get furniture and fixtures for the Cultural Center. The goal is to make the space somewhat like a showroom for local companies. The board envisions local companies bringing potential clients to the Cultural Center to show what their product looks like in use.

“I really believe that local manufacturers are going to see this as an opportunity to share their product,” Vonderheide said.

The board also heard that the planned unit development should have final approval no later than July. A planned unit development takes care of any variances to zoning and development ordinances needed in one action and allows mixed-use developments in areas zoned for a single use.

The board also began discussing financial structures for the project. A building corporation will be set up to manage the Cultural Center project and finances, similar to how schools handle building projects, and a limited liability corporation will have to be set up to receive and sell the $3.5 million in tax credits the Indiana Economic Development Corporation awarded the project. Both the building corporation and LLC are in early stages.

Scroll down to view artistic renderings of what the Cultural Center will look like:

Atrium event space
Library entry
Circulation desk
Reading lounge
Reading cubbies
Storytime area
Magazines & periodicals

 




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