By Rosemary K. Otzman
The Belleville Area District Library Board approved spending up to $4,500 for preliminary soil borings on the Department of Natural Resources lakeside site north of the Belleville Bridge.
At its regular meeting July 9, the board voted unanimously to engage SME, Inc. of Plymouth to do reduced-scope borings for $2,900, with a cap of $4,500 if more boring was indicated necessary.
The additional work would be authorized by the library director or her designee or the board president.
The reduced scope borings include six bores of 130’: two for the building at 20’, two for the building at 30’, and two for the parking at 15’.
Daniel E. Whisler of Penchansky Whisler Architects of Ann Arbor presented the proposal for Preliminary Geotechnical Investigation and Report for the proposed new Belleville Area District Library on the potential DNR lake site.
Whisler said he solicited three geotechnical firms for price quotes: SME, Inc. of Plymouth, PSI, Inc. of Plymouth, and TEC, Inc. of Troy and recommended SME.
Whisler said it is expected more drilling will be needed as the project progresses and these drillers can be used for construction testing because they will be familiar with the site.
Whisler said the point of doing the boring is to see if there are fill soils on the site, “So we’ll know.”
He said the total height of the southeastern site is 663’ to 665’ and the lake is 651’ so there is a difference of 13’. There is a slope to Belleville Road of 20’, he said.
Since the land is 13’ above the water, they will penetrate to virgin soil, even if there’s fill on the site, he said.
“If there’s fill, they will drill until they get through it,” Whisler said.
He said they are not looking for contamination, but the drillers will let the architect know what they find. He said maybe in the future they will do a Phase I environmental study.
When talking about the water table, Whisler said water tables fluctuate throughout the year, but “You can do anything if you have enough money.”
He said they don’t plan on building a basement, but an underground parking site is considered.
SME said based on their current schedule, they can begin field exploration within a week after receiving authorization to proceed.
The field exploration will take about one day for the requested 130 lineal feet of drilling and the final report can be available about 7 to 10 days after that. Preliminary verbal recommendations can be provided about 2 days after the drilling.
SME described the project as part of its price quote, saying the site is currently owned by the State of Michigan and the library is considering acquiring the site. The project will consist of the design and construction of a two (possibly three) story, slab-on-grade building.
The building is anticipated to be located on the southeast corner of the site and be about 48,000 square feet (about 24,000 square-feet in plan view).
The first floor is anticipated to be about 665 feet in elevation.
Whisler gave a drawing to the board that he said was a concept of what the footprint of the building would look like with the building in the place they would likely build it.
In other business, the board:
• Heard a report on consultant Sue Kennedy’s plan to market the library. She is holding 30-minute, in-depth interviews with 30 members of the community to try to understand the community, July 10-20. Then she plans 100-200 surveys;
• Saw a six-minute, illustrated report by Hilary Savage who attended the recent American Library Association convention in Chicago; and
• Went into closed-door session, with Whisler and attorney John Day, to discuss “purchase and/or lease of real property by the Belleville Area District Library Board.” The board later reconvened only to adjourn.
By Rosemary K. Otzman