Library Move Pushed to December

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Thursday October 26, 2017

Plans for the library to open in its new location at the University Mall in mid-November hit a snag as delays in the delivery of fixtures and furniture will push the opening to mid–December. The delay was announced during a site tour of the city’s transitional library space at the mall as city councilors and members of the public gathered there to kick off the October 16 council meeting. The city’s Public Information Officer, Coralee Holm, led the tour of the space, which is located across from the IHOP restaurant and adjacent to what is currently the Bon Ton store, and as recently announced, the site of the future Target store location.

Holm, who serves as the project manager for the move, walked the group through the empty space, which was undergoing electrical work and a limited amount of carpet replacement in preparation for the next steps of the fit-up which include lighting improvements and paint. Cost for the fit-up is $45,000, according to Holm. While more than double the amount of the initial estimate, she says the funds to pay for the fit-up will come out of the money saved over a three year period by paying lower lease costs at the mall than were being paid to the district for leased space in the high school.

Holm referenced a detailed diagram of the layout as she pointed out the setting of the various sections of the library. The collections will be held in a series of bookshelves that line the perimeter of one long wall and in groupings of freestanding shelves interspersed with modular seating areas. Holm also identified sections of the library that will be delineated by a series of moveable walls, such as a program room, computer stations, offices and workspace dedicated to library staff, and a contained children’s section.

Holm said that furniture, fixtures and wall units have all been ordered, but are not scheduled to arrive until mid to late November, which pushes the timeline out.

Prior to the delay, the announcement and execution of the move has followed a rapid course since September 5, when city councilors approved moving the library out of the space currently shared with the high school library to the University Mall.

Library Director Jennifer Murray has been actively planing and preparing for the move. Upon hearing that the furniture delivery had been pushed back, Murray contemplated the news of the delay, and thinking on her feet, quickly worked through the complexities of closing, moving and re-opening like it was a math problem, as she attempted to recalculate the timeline.

While the actual packing has not yet begun, Murray says that volunteers and staff have been working to separate the collections into categories owned by either the high school or public library. She estimates that 30,000 books have already been sorted, and that more volunteers will be needed as the process continues.

In an update this week, Holm confirmed that the move is scheduled to take place the first weekend in December, with an opening planned for December 15. A date for the closing of the community portion of the library in the high school has not yet been announced.

With an eye to the future, in early September when city council approved the transitional move to the mall, they also approved the purchase of land on Market Street near Central School for the future location of a newly built public library in City Center. The city hopes to win voter approval for the project this spring.

All of the items ordered for the transitional library are moveable, and are intended to be used in the standalone library planned for City Center.

Holm relayed that the cost of furnishings, fixtures, moveable walls, and work stations comes in at $200,000; $30,000-$35,000 for new and refurbished computers and technology for public and staff use are included in the cost.

Funding for the items will come from the City Center Reserve Fund. According to Deputy City Manager Tom Hubbard, the city allocates $860,000 each year to the City Center Reserve Fund, which is designated for public facilities and infrastructure for City Center only. The fund currently stands at $3.1 million.

City Manager Kevin Dorn says that the goal is to not have the cost of the new library go to the taxpayers. The cost of the new library is intended to come from tax revenue captured from within the City Center TIF district and the use of the Reserve Fund. Fundraising by the Library Board of Trustees is also expected to reduce the amount needed from the Reserve Fund.


SOURCE: Staff, The Other Paper