Manatee County commissioners approved a contract Dec. 10 with Lakewood Ranch-based Willis A. Smith Construction to design and build its future library in Lakewood Ranch.
Commissioner Vanessa Baugh said she has confidence in Willis Smith because of its work in the area. The company built the newly opened Mona Jain Middle School in Lakewood Ranch and in May landed the Mote Science Education Aquarium project headed for Nathan Benderson Park.
“This is a huge step for Lakewood Ranch, for Manatee County and the residents of the area,” Baugh said of starting the design and construction process for the library. “I’m excited to see this moving forward.”
The library is to be located on land north of the existing Premier Sports campus, roughly at the southeast corner of Post Boulevard and Rangeland Parkway. The property is part of an overall concept being developed by Manatee County and is the first component coming forward from master parks site, expected to include athletic facilities, pickleball courts, county office buildings and an aquatics complex.
The contract with Willis A. Smith is for $754,500 for design and preconstruction services and for the development of a management plan for construction. The library is funded for $10 million. The facility will be a minimum of 24,000 square feet, according to county documents.
As part of the contract, Manatee County has provided an additional $195,000 for a network connectivity hub to be used by the new library and future improvements to the overall master site plan for the Premier Sports campus site.