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Library task force recommends staying at current site
Fennimore Library
The last or as Kevin Eipperle from FEH Design stated, “the most critical” advisory task force/community information session for the Dwight Parker Public Library project was held on Monday, March 25 at the Memorial Building.
        Again, a great turnout of over 50 people attended to hear and see the information and design possibilities for moving ahead with either expanding/remodeling the current location or brand new building at a different location.
        After a brief review of the goals set by the advisory task force for the library, which include adequate space for public use, barrier free  access for all-ADA compliant, access to technology, and support for educational partnerships, to name few, it was into the review of concepts citizens and FEH had come up with.
        The concepts, and their potential costs, were based on a 20 year population forecast.
        Among the concepts that seemed to garnish the most positive feedback were designs to expand the existing library location with a two-story addition.
        Among the new location choices were the former World of Variety building, the school bus parking site by the high school, and in Arborvitae Park.
        There were other suggestions made, but received less “enthusiasm” or were not available such as a site behind the fire station and empty lot at 5th and Lincoln.
        Eipperle did state they did come up with “last minute, quick study” of the now former Family Dollar location.
        Eipperle then presented the ever popular projected capital or “all in” cost  to remodel/build the potential designs.
        Using 2026 as a projected year to start receiving bids, total projects costs ranged from around $5,500,000 to potential remodel the current site or move to the World of Variety location, to between $6,000,000 to $7,400,000 build a whole new structure, such as at the bus lot or Arborvitae Park.
        Potential operating cost were also presented, again with different costs depending on the design.
        The current library has an annual operating cost of $170,000, and expanded or new sites would range from $185,000 to $200,000.
        When it comes to paying for a new library in any capacity, Dwight Parker Library Director Cathy Smith explained that all the funds will be coming from fund raising and “lots of grant writing.” “It will be a long process, and raising the money will take up most the time,” she stated.
        Eipperle agreed with Smith stating that most library projects, on average, can take seven to eights from the planning to the finished stage.
        He cited the recent Lancaster project which took about nine years to complete from the study stage to the completed building.
        From there, those in attendance were able to vote on their first and second choices for a remodeled or new library site.
        After the votes were tallied, it appears the majority of people would like the library to stay at it’s location as the first and second place choices were both the current location with varying designs. Coming in third was a new building in Arborvitae Park.
        FEH used a points system for talling votes and overall, the current location and it’s varying designs received 139 points, while Arborvitae Park had 26 points, and the former World of Variety building coming in with 21 points.

        With the meetings and voting over, the next course of action with the library project is for the recommendations to be presented to the Dwight Parker Library Board.