Library construction put on indefinite hold

Robert Hanson

For those students anxious to begin using the new Mary Idema Pew Library on the Allendale Campus, prepare to be disappointed.

Foreman Eric Bullman said the project is halted indefinitely.

“Yeah, that thing — what is it?” Bullman said. “Right, library. We can’t build any more of it.”

Sources close to the construction cite the lack of funds as the primary reason behind the halt on production.

Marcus Goldfey, executive welder for the project, explained the project was going very smoothly throughout the winter.

“We were a bit behind, but we caught up,” he said. “Then, one day we had no money.”

It could take upwards of a year to apply for the revised financial plan, but Sheaffer Construction, the company contracted for the build, already has its sights elsewhere.

“Some place in Brighton is really looking for a new — what is it?” Bullman said. “Right, court house.”

Upon review of the expenditures made by Sheaffer Construction, a large amount went to food services. An alarming 42 percent of the $70 million budget went to local food spot Menna’s Joint.

“I had at least five or six dubs a day, “ said crane operator Anthony Doak. “It was getting to be a bit much, so I ended up handing them out to students that were walking by, dropping them from the crane and stuff.”

Another 20 percent went the purchase of laser tag gear.

“The kids don’t know this, but over spring break, we played some pretty intense games of laser tag in the foundation,” Goldfey said. “Productive? No. Great for morale? Well, some of the guys weren’t that into it.”

Leaving roughly 38 percent to actual construction costs, Bullman is actually surprised at how far they actually got in the process.

“I was like, ‘Whoa, we’re putting up walls and stuff? We need a second crane now?’” he said. “Totally unexpected.”

This series of events echoes a similar incident that happened in the mid-2000s. Sheaffer was contracted to construct a new daycare center on Pierce Street, only to spend 88 percent of the budget on crop-circle-making equipment.

“What, we’re surrounded by cornfields and we’re not supposed to take advantage of that?” Goldfey said.

In response to some early criticisms of this most recent abandonment, however, Bullman has some answers.

“We’ve had some concerns about what the campus will do with a ‘half-constructed’ library in the middle of the grounds,” Bullman said. “I don’t see it that way. I see a fully-constructed library in the post-modern minimalist movement.”

He suggested putting books in the girder and cinder block frame anyway.

“Or, if worse comes to worse, turn it into a playground,” he said. “Look, we didn’t do so bad on that day care after all!”

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