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The North Bend Eagle


 

Foundation presents final library plans to city

by Nathan Arneal
Published 3/9/11

An enthusiastic group of Library Foundation members presented the final plans for North Bend’s new library at the March 1 City Council meeting.

NB Library plansThe plans for the new North Bend library. Click to see a larger version.

The plans have gone out to 16 general contractors interested in bidding on the project. Submitted bids will be opened March 15 at 2 p.m, with a goal of beginning construction in April.

One thing added to the plans from the previous blueprints is a children’s room that will house the children’s book collection as well host summer story time and other kids’ programs.

“We are so thrilled with that children’s area,” Foundation member Pat Beebe said. “The original plans didn’t have a specific children’s room. We visited other libraries and saw children’s rooms that were just so outstanding. So we brought this idea back.”

A two-story tower above the entryway was eliminated from the previous plans as a cost-saving measure. Also eliminated was a staff restroom and an office.

Library Foundation treasurer Deanna Wolf said bidders are asked to include three alternatives in addition to a lump sum bid. One alternative includes top-end, 50-year shingles or cheaper asphalt shingles. The second alternative includes the cost of a geothermal heating and cooling system, which will increase up-front costs, but save money on utilities in the long run. The final alternative is the addition of an underground sprinkler system for the lawn.

Wolf said a sluggish economy that has lowered the number of construction projects out there should work in North Bend’s favor when bids are received.

“From all the indications we have from subcontractors and contractors,” Wolf said, “we couldn’t have picked a better time (to ask for bids).”

Bebee showed the council paint swatches and carpet samples that will give the library its look.

Wolf reported that more than 3,000 individuals and organizations have donated to the new library’s fund raising effort. The Foundation has raised $1,248,732.44, just over its $1.2 million goal. However, it is still seeking donations and grants to pay for things not covered in the original estimate such as a sprinkler system, landscaping, parking and certain furnishings and fixtures.

“We’re amazed at the amount of community support we get,” Foundation president Jana Post said. “We only hear positive things. Even as we go out to other communities, other people have heard about our project and are supportive. Right now a lot of people can’t use the library or don’t for different reasons. I think this new building brings in unlimited ideas into our community.”

The Foundation is looking at equipment, shelving and furniture in the current library to see what can be used in the new library, Beebe said. She also asked if the furniture, fixtures and equipment could be purchased through the city, which could save as much as $14,000 in sales tax.

Mayor Jeff Kluthe asked if the Foundation has come any closer to signing the agreement between the Foundation and city regarding the city taking over the library once it is built. The city gave the agreement to the Foundation last July. Wolf said the Foundation hopes to be ready to sign the agreement by the March 15.

While city council members said they are excited about the new library, they added some caution to their optimism.

“With the economy you hear about all these cities and states having so much financial trouble,” councilman Tim Blackmon said. “It’s the fear of the future that’s on our minds. While it’s great to be happy about the new library - and I’m all for it - but the fact is that there are some communities that have had to close their libraries because they can’t afford to keep them open.”

Blackmon said North Bend must keep growing and its tax base not drop in order to maintain the new library building. Currently, they library receives about $26,000 a year in tax revenue.

“Right now the money is there and it looks good for the near term,” Blackmon said, “but it is just a concern, just like anytime you buy something new.”

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