Library to add children’s annex in storage space

By Jeff Smith

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The big goal for the library is expansion but there might be a simpler solution to enhance library space in the interim. Library director Tammy Alexander originally came up with the idea.

Mikal Lewis, Hill City Public Library Board of Trustees president, talked to the Friends of the Library about the idea to create a new room in the storage area behind the library on Sept. 12.

Children need a new space — somewhere where they don’t have to be quiet. Alexander said the space won’t be for just children though. The space will also be for authors to hold presentations, will be a place that the library could show movies and they could use to hold book club meetings.

The Friends of the Library needs to do more fundraising in order to get the project done. Lewis thought the project’s costs for the electrician and contractor would be about $20,000. Some money from the Hill City Bed, Board and Booze (BBB) Fund will be used to pay for the project. Lewis told the city council that the Friends of the Library will do their share even though some think that the whole project should be done by BBB funds. BBB funds can be used for city improvement projects.

Lewis is planning to go before the city council in the middle of October to ask for funds. That means that the project annex would start sometime in the middle of November.

“Nothing ever works like you think it should, so who knows,” Lewis stated

Lewis said that the city likes that the children’s annex is just a one-time project and not something that is continual. When the city council members heard of the project Lewis said they were all pretty upbeat and excited about it.

The plan is not a pipe dream. It is something that the Friends of the Library can do now and is not as big of a hurdle as the expansion project.

“This will immediately work better,” Lewis said.

The garage was part of the school district’s property at one time and the Suburbans the school district owned were kept in the facility.

The garage is two separate rooms. After the project is complete one side will be finished and the other side will be cold storage.

The school actually built the part of the building where the children’s annex will be.

“It’s a different deal. It’s a much newer structure than the original one,” Lewis said.

The portion of the old building does not need to be heated. Lewis said there will be cove heat and air conditioning in the children’s annex.

The children’s annex will have painted sheet rock walls, LED lights and will be insulated, plus it will be ADA compliant.

“It will be the same type of construction as the inside of the library building,” Lewis said.

There was a fire once in the bigger section where the books are kept now. It happened when the school district owned it.

The book storage area is probably going to be cleaned up and strengthened during the same time that the children’s annex is being constructed. There is no intention of cleaning up that area all that much. Lewis thinks that they will just want to cover up the burned area.

Lewis has already received three quotes from a contractor and three from an electrician.

“It looks like it will work like we are hoping,” Lewis said.

Part of the contract will be to change orders so the Friends of the Library won’t have to deal with any extra costs after the contract price is set.

Lesta and Michael Turchen will match the funds given to the fundraisers up to $5,000 until Sept. 1, 2019. They still believe in having an endowment for the future expansion but think the addition to the garage will work for immediate space. Lewis doesn’t think there will be any trouble meeting the goal of the fundraising because there are a lot of people who want the project to get done.

The library will still need an enclosed trailer to keep books and other things that are now stored in the project area for six months.

The library is starting a new program for children this fall. The Imagination Club will begin Oct. 18 at the library. Two sections will be available due to limited space. One will be from 3:30-4:30 p.m. and the other from 4:45-5:45 p.m. The program will have a set limit of 15 children at each time. Alexander said the students will be playing with Legos, Keva Planks, doing brain teasers or other STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) activities.

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