Madison got an early Christmas present last Friday, when it opened bids for the renovation of the Central Library building on West Mifflin Street.
The city had estimated the project would cost $21,225,000, but the low bid, from J.H. Findorff & Son, came in at $18,875,000. The company was one of five that bid.
Project manager Brian Cooper says this is good news, but advises against popping the champagne now. "We have an existing building, and that always opens itself up to unknowns," he says. "We never know what we're going to find behind the walls."
And other parts of the project have yet to go out for bid, including furnishings, signage and audiovisual equipment.
But if bids continue to come in lower than expected, the city will either save money or be able to upgrade the project.
"It seems like the bidding community is beating our estimates. Things could change over the course of the year," Cooper says. "I'd like to say in the end that we'll save money, but I'll reserve that until late next year, when we'll be past all of our big budgeting risks."