08/31/11 — Mount Olive library group closing in on fundraising goal

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Mount Olive library group closing in on fundraising goal

By Steve Herring
Published in News on August 31, 2011 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The Steele Memorial Library Steering Committee is just $6,625 shy of reaching its $350,000 goal for a new library.

Thus far the committee has collected $250,567 in donations and $92,808 in outstanding pledges for a total of $343,375, and members are finalizing plans for a fundraising mailing to raise the difference.

Funds raised by the committee will pay for the architect and design work for the project.

The plan is to renovate the old Belk building at 119 W. Main St. to serve as a regional library to serve southern Wayne County.

The cost is estimated at $2.65 million with furniture and fixtures adding another $500,000 for a total of $3.1 million. Including the design fees makes the total cost $3.4 million. Construction, which probably won't start until fall 2012, could take up to a year to complete.

"I think you are talking by the time you get these committees I think that you are talking after the first of the year," said County Manager Lee Smith. "The reason I would like to see some of the construction documents and things to go out and get some prices by the spring is to prepare for budget by the following year. I think it is going to be close. I think you are going to be well into the spring by the time that you get into the construction issues.

"You have got to remember we have a lot of internal issues that we are dealing with in which I will be talking to the board about in September on buildings and deterioration. Then I have the Senior Center, my facilities folks are running like crazy on that. I have that project. I have the Qualified School Construction Bonds project for two schools being renovated at $15 million. We have a lot on our plate."

The county can only do so much so fast, he said.

"Preliminary construction time would be, I would say at the earliest the fall of 2012," he said. "I think anything earlier than that would be premature. I think it is too optimistic.

"I am looking at it from the (Eastern Wayne and Norwayne) school projects. The advantage is there are going to be a lot of hungry folks out there who want to bid on projects. I think that is going to be a real help to us because this is one of those deals where it has got to work and I only have so much money to spend on it and we have to stay within that dollar."

The Belk building and a parking lot located diagonally across West Main Street were purchased by the county for $400,000 from Mount Olive College.

Approximately 15,581 square feet of the 23,000-square-foot building would be used for library services. It is expected to have shelving capacity for more than 67,000 items including 20,000 children's books and audiovisual items, 40,000 adult and teen books and 7,000 audio- visual items.

The technical services department now located at the Ash Street branch will move to Steele Memorial Library. The department is responsible for preparing books for circulation and getting them on the shelves as well as maintaining the system's database of materials.

Donations for the library project are still needed and are welcomed, group members said.

Checks should be made payable to the Wayne County Public Library, and the Steele Memorial Building Project should be indicated on the checks.

Checks may be mailed to the Wayne County Public Library, 1001 E. Ash. St., Goldsboro, N.C. Checks should have the Steele Memorial Library Project noted on them.

Giving levels are:

* $0 to $99, Bookworm

* $100 to $499, Reader

* $500 to $999, Author

* $1,000 to $2,499, Illustrator

* $2,500 to $4,999, Publisher

* $5,000 to $9,999 Marion Hargrove Circle (Hargrove, a Mount Olive native, was a successful author and screenwriter for TV and movies. A collection of his papers and works is housed at the library.)

* $10,000 and more, W.C. Steele Society. (Dr. Steele was a driving force behind the establishment of the library in the 1930's, but died before the project was completed. The Belk building sits in the site of Steele's former home.)