11/23/11 — Mount Olive library beats $350K target

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Mount Olive library beats $350K target

By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 23, 2011 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Bids are expected to go out shortly after the first of year for the $3.4 million renovation of the former Belk's department store building to become the new home of Steele Memorial Library.

It will take about a year to complete the project.

Also, Steele Memorial Library Steering Committee Chairman Lynn Williams Monday morning said that the local grassroots fundraising campaign has slightly exceeded its $350,000 goal -- just two years after it was launched in November 2009.

Thus far, $260,557 has been collected and there is another $89,500 in outstanding pledges for a total of $350,057.

"It is pretty remarkable that the community responded the way it did and raised $350,000 in just two years," Mrs. Williams said. "That is not bad for a little place like Mount Olive.

"We do have a few folks that we still want to approach. We would like to have a little cushion over that $350,000. We are not through, but we hope to be soon."

Those funds will pay for the architect and design work being done by RATIO Architect Inc. of Raleigh.

The renovated Belk building at 119 W. Main St. will become a regional library serving southern Wayne County.

Also, the county library's technical services department, which is 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.

The renovation is estimated to cost $2.65 million with furniture and fixtures adding another $500,000 for a total of $3.1 million. Including the design fees, that makes the total cost $3.4 million.

"That project is in design development at this point," said Sue Farmer, Wayne County facilities director. "We have pretty much come up with a concept idea. We have the floor plan down. We have the exterior where everybody is comfortable and happy with the design, the overall look and concept of the building. That will go out to bid right after the first of the year and the bidding process should take about 30 days. (Work) should be completed by January of 2013.

"There will be some outdoor space because the wide sidewalks around that building kind of lend themselves to that. There will be outdoor useable space for a courtyard and seating that are incorporated into the design of the building. We also have an outside dive-through book drop incorporated into the plan. There is some meeting space."

The go-ahead will still need the approval of Wayne County commissioners before it can proceed to construction.

The county purchased the Belk building and parking lot located diagonally across West Main Street 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 audiovisual items.

The library would have separate areas for small children and teens, and an exterior courtyard where patrons could sit and read or take advantage of a wireless Internet connection. The outdoor courtyard probably would be located on the large sidewalk area in front of the library and access would be through the library only.

Public meeting space would be available after hours and there would be several smaller study spaces and public computer areas.

Anyone interested in making a donation should send checks 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 East Ash St., Goldsboro, NC 27530.