KODIAK — Five members of the Kodiak Public Library Association’s building committee are in the driver’s seat as the project to build a new Kodiak public library moves forward.

Together, the five will select a general contractor from a list of nine proposals received by the city of Kodiak by last week’s deadline.

Paul Converse, chairman of the building committee and head of the subcommittee picking the contractor, said the list of candidates has been narrowed to four. He and the other four members of the subcommittee — Koniag CEO Will Anderson, Native Village of Afognak administrator Melissa Borton, engineer Doug Hogan and Kodiak Arts Council director Tom Quass — will conduct interviews and research before they send a final selection to city manager Aimée Kniaziowski.

The subcommittee is under a tight deadline. If work is to begin on the library as scheduled this summer, the Kodiak City Council needs to approve the choice at its April meeting.

“There’s a number of different firms that are entirely capable of doing a good job,” Converse said. “The challenge we face is finding the one that’s the best.”

Unlike in a traditional bidding process, where the contractor with the lowest bid is hired once plans are complete, the library project is moving forward under a construction manager-at-risk approach.

Under the approach, the general contractor is brought in during the later stages of design to provide input. The contractor can begin hiring and work earlier, and, as a safeguard against cost overruns, agrees to pay for overages.

Once a general contractor is approved by the city, “There’s a kickoff meeting, and the contractors join the conversation about the design and start reviewing all the planning that’s been done already,” Converse said. “They basically become partners in the process of finishing up the design.”

The Kodiak City Council is expected to take up the general contractor proposal at its April 10 work session.

Contact Mirror editor James Brooks at editor@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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