The relocation of the W. Dale Clark library forges ahead after the Omaha City Council approved an alternative process Tuesday for the design and construction of improvements at both new library locations.
Usually, the city uses a “design-bid-build” process for construction projects. The city will put out a request for design proposals and construction companies will make their bids. One will be chosen and approved, and then construction can begin.
Thanks to the Political Subdivisions Construction Alternatives Act, the city is able to use an alternative process, the Construction Management at Risk delivery system or a design-build contract. Although Omaha has always used design-bid-build contracts, the alternative process has been used across Nebraska.
“It onboards either a design team or a construction management team earlier on in the process to help control costs,” said Troy Anderson, a deputy chief of staff for Mayor Jean Stothert.
Under the alternative process, the city brings on the designer and contractor at the same time. Proposals are evaluated by a selection committee, which will include at least one City Council member.
The committee will also include a representative from Noddle Co., which was brought on to manage the library’s relocation. CEO Jay Noddle said the new process shifts more of the risk to the contractor earlier.
“In the private sector, we like it a lot because it gets the general contractor, the construction manager on board early,” Noddle said. “So you have a number you can count on as your guaranteed maximum price earlier than you otherwise would.”
The downtown library — currently at 215 S. 15th St. — will be moved to 1401 Jones St. The library’s new administrative offices and distribution center will move to 84th and Frederick streets.
City Planner Bridget Hadley gave a report on tax increment financing (TIF) Tuesday. Twenty-five TIF loans were approved in 2021, and 13 loans were either paid off or expired. She said without TIF, those projects would’ve led to a 34% increase in tax revenues. With TIF, revenues increased by 699%.
“Those projects are paying off on the backend,” Council President Pete Festersen said.
The city has focused more on affordable housing, with more than 600 affordable units proposed for TIF funding last year. Hadley said only 84 units were proposed in TIF projects in 2020.
The Douglas County Board of Commissioners also met Tuesday to receive an update from Douglas County Corrections Director Mike Myers.
Myers said that although the department is still struggling with keeping officers on hand, it spent less on overtime in March thanks to a reduction in the incarcerated population and no COVID cases. Five officers left in March, and the department expects to bring on 13 new officers.