Library Board Gets Cost Cuts; Votes to Move Ahead w/Fundraising for New Library Location

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Published on September 18 2012 12:35 am
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Helen Matthes Library board members Monday voted to move ahead with a capital fundraising campaign designed to raise $2 million to help pay for the renovation of the current 5th/3rd Bank building into a new library home.

The vote came after Library Director Amanda McKay reported capital costs for the new library home were cut to $3,579,822.  The amount proposed in January was $5 million and a survey of local residents indicated that they liked the library project, but not for that much money.  The survey also indicated that most residents would be agreeable to a $2 million fund drive.

McKay said a major savings was realized by removing a separate staircase, but other savings will involve utilizing existing heating and air conditioning in several locations, reducing the acquisition of furniture and finishings, and cuts in technology.  McKay said grants would be utilized to help finance some of the technology goals.

City Administrator Jim Arndt who serves on the Library Board said he was glad to see a reduction on the per square foot cost of the project from $175 to $124.

The Board decided to retain two items suggested for elimination by architect Steve Meyer; one, a project manager to oversee the project and two, a large basement meeting room since it is hoped to be a revenue producer for the library.

As to the capital campaign, the Advance Gifts effort involves 3-5 year pledges and is designed to generate $1 million of the fundraising goal and will run through February 2013; the Major Gifts effort involves large one-time contributions and is designed to raise $900,000 and would run from March through October 2013; and the Community Gifts effort would concern gifts of $5 to $500 so everyone would have the opportunity to help with a goal of raising $100,000 and would run from November 2013 through February 2014.

The Board's vote Monday was also to move to the blueprint phase of the project, which is expected to take six months to complete.

McKay reported that the public may get the opportunity to see the facility in use in November as the Family Read Night might be held at the new venue.  The Board also discussed when to put the current library along Market Avenue on the block, and Arndt suggested when they wrap up the exchange of the 5th/3rd facility to the City.  From that point, Arndt said it could take 60 days to transfer the property from the City to the Library so, conceivably, the Library could have ownership of its new home by year's end.

In other business, the Library Board accepted an annual per capita grant from the State; approved the tentative levy for 2013-2014; and were reminded of the Scarecrow Festival planned along the TREC Trail this Sunday designed to benefit the Library, but also some publicity for TREC and the trail.