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Atherton welcomes the community to its new library

Original post made on Jun 16, 2022

Atherton Mayor Rick DeGolia counted down from 10 before kids ran through a red "Welcome" banner held in front of the doors of the new $19.1 million Atherton Library to mark its opening on June 4.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, June 16, 2022, 11:05 AM

Comments (5)

Posted by CyberVoter
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 16, 2022 at 8:57 pm

CyberVoter is a registered user.

“$19 million for 10,000 sq. ft.? If those #'s are correct, the cost was ~ $1,900/sq.ft. And, it doesn't have a gourmet kitchen with Wolf equipment and 5+ bathrooms & an entertainment center, a wine cellar & a pool/spa!

Am I doing the math wrong or missing something or did Atherton "over spec & overpay"? Or is Atherton’s “Building Code” just too “tight”?

Posted by MenloVoter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 17, 2022 at 7:19 am

MenloVoter. is a registered user.


the problem is twofold. One, it is a commercial building and subject to more stringent codes than single family residential construction. Two, it is a public building built with public funds which means it has to be done at "prevailing wage". Prevailing wage is based on what the local union trades get per hour PLUS their health care, pension, etc. Labor that non-union builders pay $35/hr would have to be paid more than double that. This is the law in California brought to you by our labor union bought and paid for legislature. It artificially inflates the cost of constructing anything that is built with public funds.

For example non-union carpenters must be paid $86.63/hr. Here is a link to prevailing wage rates: Web Link So work you could have done for half that MUST be done at TWICE what could be paid in the open market.

Posted by CyberVoter
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 17, 2022 at 1:01 pm

CyberVoter is a registered user.

Menlo Voter:

Very good points! However, these costs can still not explain $1,910/square foot! Again, the land was free, no exotic kitchens, multiple bathrooms, pool/spa, etc.! Assume that the cost per sq. ft. is "bloated" to ~ $750/sq.ft, that is still 2.5X the expected cost?

There must be something we don't know - & aren't being told.

Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 17, 2022 at 5:28 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.


Commercial buildings are expensive to build. Also, the cost of materials has been skyrocketing over the course of the construction of this building. For example, I am currently building a 10,000 sf house. The framing lumber was priced in September, when April rolled around and we started framing the lumber package had gone up $100,000. Steel, which there is a lot of in this building made a huge jump in price between 2019 and 2020, then continued up from there. The initial jump doubled the cost of steel. And it has continued to escalate from there. And cost increases have affected materials across the board.

Also, I'm sure this project had the usual change orders both for changes made and for things missing from the plans. Because it was competitively bid, bidders will only bid what's in the plans even if they know there is missing information. If they put it in their bid and other bidders don't, they won't get the job.

Posted by CyberVoter
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 18, 2022 at 7:46 pm

CyberVoter is a registered user.

Menlo Voter:

Agreed, but the Library was bid & contracted several years ago!

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