Bradford Memorial Library is looking at how to best serve the community in the future.

Bradford Memorial Library is looking at how to best serve the community in the future.

“We’re here to talk about a library renovation project,” said Bill Kloeblen, library board president, during the El Dorado City Commission meeting Monday evening.

The library has been a part of the community for more than 100 years, originally being located on the second floor of the city building. It then opened the Carnegie Library on Dec. 1, 1912 and moved to its current location in 1959. The last update was completed in 1998.

Because of that, the board felt several renovations were needed.

“Our renovation project really came about when we had a need for carpeting,” Kloeblen said. “The carpet getting warn and in some areas potentially unsafe in the future got the board to thinking about our needs for both the current and the future.

“Parts of the library have ‘fraying’ infrastructure. We also felt a need for the library to serve the community for the next 25 years and beyond.”

The first step of the process was to get input from the public, library board, Friends of the Library and library staff.

“We compiled all those and we had a fairly long laundry list of needs,” Kloeblen said.

High on the list was parking. Other items included some exterior needs, as well as changes to the interior, technology and updates for meeting places. There also is a need for restrooms upstairs.

After looking at these issues, they hired PKHLS Architects to put a plan together.

In the plan is an improved entrance with greater security.

“One of our security issues is that it is hard to see the entrance from the circulation desk,” Kloeblen said.

The plan also includes better lighting, a computer facility for public use, space for reading and meetings, lower stacks for greater visibility and rest rooms on the main floor. It included improved meeting facilities, updated staff areas, improved infrastructure and landscaping. Another change would be a new entrance to the lower level, so a person would have to pass through the main floor of the library to go downstairs. There also was some furniture for the children’s library, as well as additions to the Clymer Room.

The cost of the project is estimated to be $1,197,121.

To fund this, the library board proposes using existing capital of $200,000, existing endowment of $100,000, public funding of $485,000 and fundraising of $412,000.

The public funding portion was the request they had before the commission.

The commission was presented with a resolution to provide $485,000 to the project, which the library would repay over a 10-year period.

“We started by putting an amount in the 2014 budget to start paying that back in anticipation of this,” said Kristi Jacobs, library director.

They would use their existing taxation funds to repay that money, which would allow them to stay within the 5 mill limit the commission has set for them.

Jacobs said they expect to go the public for fundraising in the not-to-distant future.

If the money is raised, the project would be completed in two phases, with phase one including parking, the upper level, a covered entry, window replacement, mechanical and roofing for $915,000. This would be in the winter/spring of 2013/2014. Phase two would include the lower level and site development for $282,000 and would be completed in the fall 2014.

“The resolution anticipates it would be public debt,” explained Herb Llewellyn, city manager. “Kristi has trimmed her budget and the board approved it (the project).”

This would take their mill levy to the 5 mill cap, which would be a quarter of a mill increase.

Llewellyn said they also have cut spending.

“I’m in favor of this project,” said Commissioner Nick Badwey. “I’m a big fan of the library. I use the library. I see lots and lots of people in there every time I’m in there.”

Commissioner Chase Locke also liked the project, but he asked if they could really say what a library would look like in 25 years and if the facility could be adapted.

Jacobs said there would be a few less books, and they will be set up to meet changing needs.

“We can remove stacks and put in tables and chairs,” Jacobs said. “That is why we put in a bunch of tables and chairs so people can use the wifi and e-books. I think it is easily adaptable.”

The library currently has about 600 kids and teenagers signed up in their summer reading program and about 150 adults, up significantly from last year. In 2012, they had 13,696 registered users and 41,000 library visits. Circulation was about 167,000, with computer usage at about 22,000 log ons.

“I think this is a great project,” said Commissioner Bill Young. “I know you put a lot of thought into how to make this adaptable moving forward. There’s definitely renovations needed. It’s a great, great facility. I’m glad to see a large portion of the funding will be private donations and from the endowment. It is a community building.”

Commissioner David Chapin echoed the others’ comments.

“I can’t believe anyone who wouldn’t be in favor of this,” said Mayor Mike Fagg.

He was concerned about the timing of the funding though.

“It is just a question because of our major capital improvements the last few years,” he said. “I’m just not a debt person.”

He thought they should do the fundraising, then the city provide the funding.

“They won’t have the money to do phase one without fundraising as projected,” Llewellyn said. “We won’t borrow the money until bids are opened and they can see if they can afford it.”

He said the resolution was a step in the progression.

“This tells them that you will be willing to let them bond some of the project,” Llewellyn said.

Fagg pointed out they don’t have to do the resolution for them to start their fundraising.

Llewellyn said it was so the library board would know the commission is committed to the project.

“If they take the next step and prepare contract documents and go to bid with no funding set up they could have done a bunch of work and the commission tell them no,” he said.

Badwey made a motion to approve the resolution, which was seconded by Locke.

Chapin asked how many years it would take for the library to save up for the project, and he was told it would take about 10 years.

“There you go, Mike, we can wait 10 years,” Chapin said. “That’s the question that’s upon us, if we wait or go forward.”

Fagg said he thought they could go forward now and the city pass the resolution later.

“I’m in favor of this,” Fagg said. “I just would like to have fundraising first. I’m just really wanting to slow down debt.”

Badwey amended his motion to say not to exceed $485,000, and the resolution was approved 4-1, with Fagg opposed.