MARBLE HILL, Mo. -- The Bollinger County Commission and the Bollinger County Library have taken the first steps toward building a new library. If it is feasible, the county commission will move the Extension center and county archives into the new library building.
Library director Eva Dunn said the library wants to build a 20,000-square-foot building behind the new Dollar General store on Highway 51.
"It will almost triple the size we have now," she said.
An architect is drawing up plans for a 25,000-square-foot building that would accommodate both the library and a 5,000-square-foot Extension/archive center, Presiding Commissioner Travis Elfrink said.
"We just want to see how much it would cost," Elfrink said. "It will depend on the price whether we do or not."
If the county finds it can't afford the extra space, then the building will be 20,000 square feet for only the library.
The library spent $90,000 to buy four acres of property of a 20-acre tract on a hilltop behind the Dollar General. It was able to raise the money, Dunn said, by setting aside money that would otherwise have been spent for items the library was able to get grants for.
The building is expected to cost about $4 million, Dunn said.
"In the next few months, we will start having public meetings so people can see what we want to do," she said. "If everything goes well we are looking at a bond issue in April of 2013."
Dunn said she estimates that with public support the project could be built through a bond issue that would raise real estate taxes for only 20 years.
"A new tax is a challenge, but we really think we have very good support," Dunn said. "A library is a essential service anymore. We realized that after the last flood. People were trying to get in the doors, and we were flooded."
Property owners needed the library's computers to file for disaster assistance, and the library had to clean up its own flood damage before it could get the computers up and running.
"Everybody wants everything done by Internet," Dunn said. "If we are going to be a resource during an emergency, we need to get out of the emergency."
An archive and extension center would provide much-needed space for both entities, and will make it possible for the extension service to offer more programs to the public.
Dunn said she hopes the county can turn the current library building into a meeting center. Elfrink said that so far the county is thinking about tearing down the current archive and extension center building to make room for a parking lot for the courthouse.
Dunn said the project is the county's way of long-range planning.
"We're looking 50 years down the road instead of five years," she said. "We could double the size of the library and have to come back in five years and ask for another bond issue. We're thinking further than five years."
Marble Hill, MO