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Freehold Borough officials award contract for library improvements

FREEHOLD — A $2.2 million contract has been awarded by the Borough Council for improvements that will be made at the Freehold Public Library, East Main Street, Freehold Borough.

During a special meeting on Oct. 26, council members passed a resolution awarding the contract to Shorelands Construction Inc., Monmouth Beach, for work at the library.

The lowest bid for the project was submitted by AB Designs Contracting Corp., which bid $2.17 million, according to the resolution.

However, Borough Attorney Matthew Goode determined AB Designs failed to provide a schedule of prices in accordance with the borough’s instructions to bidders.

As a result, Goode declared the proposal from AB Designs to not be in conformance with the borough’s instructions and the local public contracts law, and found that the bid of AB Designs should be disqualified and rejected, according to the resolution.

Representatives of AB Designs submitted a letter asserting there was no cause to disqualify the company’s bid, but after consultation with legal counsel, Freehold Borough officials determined the firm’s protest was without merit.

Other bids were received from Shorelands Construction Inc., ($2.2 million); Frankowski Construction Co. Inc. ($2.51 million); Santorini Construction Inc. ($2.29 million); EMY Solutions, LLC, ($2.28 million); and C.M.G. Group Inc. ($2.25 million).

With the borough’s disqualification of the bid from AB Designs, Shorelands Contruction was awarded the library contract as the lowest responsible bidder. The contract was awarded by the council members upon the recommendation of Abbington Engineering, the borough’s engineering firm.

Borough Council members had previously adopted a bond ordinance appropriating $2.33 million for the library improvements and authorizing the issuance of $1.78 million in bonds or notes to help finance the cost of the work.

According to the bond ordinance, municipal officials expect to receive an $889,000 grant from the New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act to help finance the planned improvements at the Freehold Public Library.

No down payment was made to finance the work to be completed at the library.

The improvements are expected to include wheelchair access to the entire facility; two new restrooms that will be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act; a kitchenette for staff/program use; and heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades, according to Councilwoman Annette Jordan.

Jordan said additional accessibility improvements will be made at the library; there will be designated parking spaces adjacent to the library for individuals who have a handicap; the staff office will be relocated; the circulation desk will be repositioned; and there will be a new teen room public space that will be reclaimed from storage and utility areas.

The councilwoman said safety improvements to the front entrance will preserve the building’s historic character; there will be remodeling and new shelving in the children’s room; updated electric service; a designated conference/study room; and additional shelf capacity, specifically for the children’s, teen and adult fiction collections.

The Freehold Public Library opened in 1904. It operates independently of the Monmouth County Library System and is funded exclusively by Freehold Borough taxpayers.

The library was built with a grant provided by industrialist Andrew Carnegie, who funded the construction of 36 libraries in New Jersey. The Freehold Public Library is one of 17 Carnegie libraries that remain operational in the state.

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