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JRVLS Board accepts conceptual design for expansion, renovation

The James River Valley Library System Board of Directors approved a conceptual design for the potential expansion and renovation of the Alfred Dickey Library.

The board hopes to have the design printed on posters for the Community Block Party on Aug. 28 as volunteers continue to gather signatures to have a quarter-percent sales tax added to the November ballot to fund the project.

Library Director Joe Rector said the design is not final, and public input will still be taking on its look.

“If we have a rendering made then it gives the public something to look at, and they can say, ‘we want it to look more modern,’ ‘we don’t like this,’ or ‘we do like that,’” Rector said. “We want to make it as good as it possibly can, but just with the understanding that there will be changes in the future as well.”

Board member Lynn Krueger was the only dissenting vote, aside from Chairman Dale Marks who was absent from the meeting on Wednesday. Krueger said he’s shown the design to some county residents, and no one he’s shown it to was in favor of it.

“It was a brick sandwich,” he said, referring to the tall, middle entrance on First Avenue that will span from the ground level above the rest of the connecting brick structures on each side.

“We’re putting our names on this, guys, for the next 90 years … And you want to put it on a brick sandwich?”

The plan for the new library involves renovating the space within the existing library and to tear down the Maranatha building and the Maple Mall to make room for an addition. The quarter percent sales tax would cost the average household in the county approximately $33.75 a year and raise a total of around $700,000 per year for 10 years, said Bill Kennedy, director of development, at a previous board meeting. That $7 million would be applied to the estimated $9 million cost of the project, with the rest coming from donations.

In order to be placed on the ballot, a minimum of 1,452 valid signatures must be gathered and turned in to the Stutsman County auditor’s office 60 days before the Nov. 4 election. As of Tuesday, 1,535 signatures had been gathered, but the board has a goal of 2,000, although Rector said he’d prefer 2,500.

One important feature the new addition would have would be a heated garage for the bookmobile, which the board will be looking to replace depending on how the November vote goes.

The Stutsman County Commission decided to sell the Stutsman County Library building at its Aug. 5 meeting. The bookmobile operates out of the county library, and Rector told the board that it is possible that bookmobile service might be suspended this year if the two libraries have to merge without finding a heated garage.

“I think people by and large don’t understand how significant that heated garage is to the operation of the bookmobile,” he said. “It’s absolutely essential; without that, the bookmobile does not run in the winter.”

Rector said the board will have to come up with a contingency plan based on the possible outcomes of the November election and the sale of the county library.

Sun reporter David Luessen can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at dluessen@jamestownsun.com

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