Public Finance Authority OKs $1.3M for the last phase of Turnbull Library


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ST. THOMAS - The V.I. Public Finance Authority approved another $1.3 million Friday to complete the last phase of the Turnbull Library project.

The $1,365,602.10 comes from the $2 million earmarked for the library in a 2012 bond issuance and will be used to purchase and install solar panels and landscape the property.

"The library has been substantially completed," Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls said Friday.

Smalls said the library will be getting a 105-kilowatt photovoltaic system, which could save the library as much as $30,000 a year in utility costs.

The solar panel installation should be complete within eight months, Smalls said.

A ceremonial groundbreaking for the library took place in 2006, but construction did not begin until 2008, with an initial budget of $20 million.

The cost of the library has now risen to about $24 million, and the construction has been fraught with delays and cost overruns.

The library finally opened its doors in June but still has limited hours, operating only 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The roof must be replaced - at the cost of the contractor - because it makes loud popping sounds when it heats and cools. Smalls said the new panels are being manufactured and should be ready for installation in 45 to 60 days.

In other business, the board's legal counsel James Hindels reported that a settlement agreement in a class action lawsuit against Bank of America has been reached.

The Public Finance Authority originally was a plaintiff in the lawsuit but opted to take an earlier settlement of about $280,000. The larger suit settled for $20 million, which must be split between many entities across all states and territories. Hindels said if the Public Finance Authority had not made the decision to take the money early on, it would be receiving a significantly smaller amount of money as part of the final $20 million settlement agreement.

- Contact reporter Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email alewin@dailynews.vi.

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