Friday, Oct. 30, 2009 | This is how I predict the main library will proceed.

The estimate will come in at or below $185 million, and no one paid me $500,000 to know that. The City Council members will pat each other on the back, not for being visionaries but because they know some of them will be out of office when the contractors come back to ask for additional funds because, ooops, their estimate was too low.

Then it will be too late because, after all, construction has already started and now we have to add money to the project, even if the fundraising is still pretty pathetic even after a decade of trying to get interest in the project. And the Council will add money and add money and add money, and the public will never be told the total true cost of the project, but will continue to be told it was approved at the original amount. I’ve seen this before, by the way, and so have you if you’ve paid attention to projects built in the city. And because it is a bigger building, everyone will be surprised the operating costs went up because, unlike construction costs, operating costs tend to go up, but now we have the building so we have to pay the added costs of running it.

And the first major earthquake we have, the whole thing will fold like the tower of toothpicks it is due to the maneuvers to move school money out of projects that needed the funds and dumping them into the main library in a community that didn’t want a charter high school but that’s all they get so the safety requirements can be avoided.

Of course there is the added cost of transporting the students to the site, but let’s not count that — the school system can afford that extra expense, right?

Good job all around. Typical city project.

I would love to be wrong, by the way, but I would also have liked to have had a decent design for the library and that didn’t happen.

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