Monday, July 24, 2006

BLUEPRINT FOR FAILURE: A STAR SPECIAL REPORT

A report on Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library construction. Same library where staff have been denied the right to organize.

BLUEPRINT FOR FAILURE: A STAR SPECIAL REPORT

What library officials had hoped by now would be the crown jewel of Indianapolis' library system has instead become a royal mess.

In the nearly four years since leaders broke ground to expand the Central Library, the project has been plagued with problems. Engineers are still trying to fix gaping holes in the underground parking garage that doubles as the foundation for a new six-story building. They've also had to adjust the building's design to deal with a faulty survey mark that caused the garage to be built six inches too far south.

The project is two years behind schedule, more than $50 million over budget, mired in expensive lawsuits and rife with allegations of mismanagement, fraud and conflict of interest.

To avoid running out of money, the Indianapolis-Marion County Library Board has shelved plans for new branches in Center and Lawrence townships as well as a high-tech security system. A tax increase to homeowners and businesses is also likely.

A months-long review of records and court documents, and interviews with people involved in the project, suggest that at the root of these problems was an ill-fated decision by the Library Board to undertake the Central Library expansion without a general contractor to hire and oversee more than 60 contractors and assume legal responsibility for their work. READ THE ENTIRE REPORT.

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