BY THE NUMBERS
8,810: Dade County library card holders
67,000: Items including books and literary materials
12,000: Renovated library square footage
47,000: Annual visitors
10,000: Annual computer users
Source: Cherokee Regional Library System, Dade County Public Library officials
$100,000: USDA Community Facilities grant
$30,000: City of Trenton SPLOST
$50,000: Dade County SPLOST
$855,000: Total project cost
Source: Cherokee Regional Library System officials
TRENTON, Ga. — A year behind schedule, the Dade County Public Library renovation and expansion project is back on track this week with a new contractor and a 120-day schedule for completion, officials said.
A few issues related to former contractor Knight and Associates of Atlanta's shortcomings on the project still are in negotiation, but construction resumed this week, Cherokee Regional Library System director Lecia Eubanks said.
Eubanks, who also oversees the public libraries in LaFayette, Chickamauga and Rossville, said new contractor Chazler Inc.'s crews started bringing in materials this week and readying the site. Chattanooga-based Chazler was among the original bidders on the project, she said.
The $855,000 project, mostly funded by the state, should be finished by early May.
Officials and subcontractors are "very confident" in the future of the project, Eubanks said.
"There's just a totally different feeling about the project this time," she said.
Buster Brown, a superintendent for Chazler, said the crew led by project manager Evert Roop will start wrapping up roof repairs, assessing the status of plumbing and electrical work and starting corrective work.
"We must make sure everything's structurally sound," Brown said. He said Chazler will address "surprises" as they're discovered.
The completed project will be a welcome sight for Dade County youth, said Samantha Combs, who was helping a friend renew his driver's license on one of the computers squeezed into the library's 1,000-square-foot temporary location down the street.
"People have no idea how many kids it helps," Combs said of the library. She is the operations manager for the local Krystal restaurant, which works closely with the library's youth programs.
Many local families lack Internet access and some simply can't afford a computer, so the library fills a vital role, she said. Combs said her own two children, 10 and 13, are regulars at the library.
Assistant library manager Debra Bradford said most of the library's collection has been in dry storage in Norcross, Ga., and some genealogy records are in Texas being restored because of April 2011 storm damage until they can be returned to Trenton in May.
Bradford said she's anxious to get into the renovated, roomier facility.
Eubanks said improvements also include a teen area, a storytelling room, an expanded computer lab and two quiet study rooms.
"It's not just an addition, it's a total renovation; new carpet, new paint, everything," she said.
Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...