MARBLE HILL, Mo. -- In April, Bollinger County voters will be asked to approve a bond issue to erect a building behind the Dollar General store. The building would triple the size of the current library, archive and extension center.
Library director Eva Dunn said that she and Donna Aufdenberg of the University of Missouri extension and archive, as well as the county commissioners, tried to project at least 20 years into the future when they planned the proposed building. They asked architects Dille and Traxel of Poplar Bluff, Mo., to design a building with an open interior to accommodate relocating and expanding various functions and spaces as needs change. They also imagined triple the space of each of the existing locations.
Voters will be asked to approve a 20-year bond issue to build the new center. The bonds will be retired through a special property tax and will go directly to the library, which is already a taxing district. At the end of 20 years, or earlier if possible, the tax estimated at around 20 cents per $100 assessed valuation will cease.
The library's board hasn't yet voted on the cost of the project, but it's estimated at $5 million to $6 million.
Dunn said she used her own property taxes as an example, and calculated that the average taxpayer would see an increase of about $50 a year on their tax bill.
"It will raise taxes on a limited basis, and it will go away," Dunn said.
The decision to combine the library, archive center and extension office seemed logical, Dunn and Aufdenberg said. The archive center occupies a small area next to the extension service, and both offices need more space. Aufdenberg said the courthouse sends an increasing amount of county records to be archived each year, and storage space is lacking.
"The courthouse is out of storage, we are out of storage -- it's a big headache," Aufdenberg said.
With the archive and extension office in a new building, the county would gain additional space. Just about every officeholder needs more room, Aufdenberg said.
The library has had to contend not only with limited space, but also with recurring flooding. Sandbagging is futile, Dunn said, and previous floods have jeopardized the building's structure. When floods occur, they hit other businesses and homes, and people use the library to apply online for flood assistance.
Dunn said she asked the architect about installing flood doors on the present building.
"He told me we would have to build a floodwall. The last time it flooded, water was coming in the bricks and coming in where the bricks meet concrete."
The building has suffered damage from water pressure during the last three floods and the exterior walls are showing signs of damage.
"We need to get out of the flood plain," Dunn said.
With a larger area, the library can provide more services and expand its computer services. Similarly, the extension service can offer more educational opportunities for county residents, Aufdenberg said. Upgrading its ability to offer televised seminars would "open up good opportunities for continuing education," she said.
Incorporated into the plans for the building is a commercial kitchen, which Dunn said would expand what the local farmers market would be able to offer. And in the event of an emergency, the kitchen area could be used as an emergency shelter, and the kitchen would be there to feed those seeking shelter.
"This is something every Bollinger County child in 4-H and rodeo, every master gardener, soil tester, small business owner needs," Dunn said. "I think it's a terrific opportunity to put all our resources in one location."
Dunn and Aufdenberg plan to host public meetings after the Christmas holidays so people can learn more about the proposed building and the way it will be paid for.
Marble Hill, Mo.