ASHLAND — The Southern Boone County Public Library will have a new building in Ashland next fall.
Daniel Boone Regional Library Board members unanimously approved a proposal Thursday to lease a new 6,500-square-foot building to be built on 1.12 acres in downtown Ashland. McKinney Properties, LLC will build the new library, which will be near Southern Boone Middle School on Main Street.
The new building in Ashland would expand library services by:
- Providing more shelves for books and other library materials.
- Offering more access to public computers.
- Providing more seats for wireless Internet users.
- Furnishing dedicated space for library programs.
- Giving community members a place to hold meetings.
Information provided by Karen Neely, outreach and Southern Boone County Public Library manager.
The library system will lease the new building for $87,750 a year, or $13.50 per square foot. This is a fixed cost that the current budget can finance without raising property taxes, Elinor Barrett, a spokeswoman for the library, said.
"It's a fixed cost that we can plan ahead for, that we can fit into the current tax rate," Barrett said. "The fixed cost helps us control costs and keep it really cost-efficient for the taxpayers."
One concern raised by board member David Webber before the vote was whether the architectural renderings were an accurate picture of what the community could expect the new building to look like.
"They can anticipate that it’s going to look just like the proposal, except for maybe the colors," Jay Berendzen, an architect with Porter & Associates, said.
The decision to lease came after voters rejected a ballot issue in 2007 that would have increased property taxes to build new libraries in Ashland and near the Boone County Fairgrounds, according to a previous Missourian report.
After asking for proposals, library officials received three offers from local developers and selected one from McKinney Properties. The location of McKinney’s proposed building was the key factor in the decision, board member Bridget Canaday said.
Now that the board has approved the proposal, the staff will work out the details of the new building with the property developers to finalize the plans for the library.
"Clearly people use the facility in Ashland," Canaday said. "So the facility here is loved and used. I think that will just continue to grow, just like our community."
The board hopes to open the new library in September 2012.