County Chiller Plant project has affected buildings downtown including the library
BRADENTON -- The last underground piece of piping is being laid this week as part of a network that connects the $12 million Manatee County Chiller Plant with buildings it is designed to cool, a county official said Wednesday.
Fencing surrounds the area near the corner of Fourth Avenue West and 10th Street West, on the west side of the intersection.
"Construction on Fourth Avenue in front of the GTE building will last two or three weeks," said Maggie Daniell, senior fiscal services manager for the county's Property Management Department.
Construction workers, who had been digging outdoors in a parking area of the Bradenton Central Library, now have moved inside, and are installing new air handlers and new ceilings, Daniell said.
"They will be on the outside when they remove the old air-conditioning equipment from the roof," Daniell said of the building at 1301 Barcarrota Blvd. W.
The Central Library closed Feb. 1 for renovation, and will remain closed until early May, when it will become the first county building to use the chiller plant's service, said Daniell.
Meanwhile, construction on the chiller plant itself is moving along. Monday, a giant crane lifted huge pieces of machinery from the ground to install them inside the plant.
The chiller plant is under construction at 323 Ninth Street W., across the street from the Hampton Inn hotel, and work on piping to link it to county buildings has affected street traffic over the past few months.
All the piping that snakes underground will be linked to the new plant once construction is completed.
Pumping chilled water through underground piping could cool buildings up to a mile away.
In addition to the Chiller Plant itself, the project calls for new elevators, air handlers and other energy-saving measures in county buildings. Two other county buildings will be among those that will link with the Chiller Plant: the county administrative building, 1112 Manatee Ave. W., and the property appraiser's office, 915 Fourth Ave. W.
Bradenton Police Chief Michael Radzilowski said he did not get any complaints about traffic tie-ups resulting from construction of the underground piping network.
"People learned to navigate the route, and once people set their pattern, everybody got into a groove to get to their office," said Radzilowski. "I'd classify it as an inconvenience, rather than a big deal."
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twittercface fontname="Roman" naxe="0" iaxis="0"/>