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Library expansion suggested

December 13, 2000

Library expansion suggested



By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer


A Washington County Free Library System consultant has suggested new buildings be built in Smithsburg and Boonsboro and that the central library in Hagerstown be expanded and improved at a cost of up to $13.6 million.

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Rob Klinedinst and Jeff Artz, of Gilbert Architects of Lancaster, Pa., summarized a written report on the proposals during a presentation before the Library Board and the Washington County Commissioners Tuesday night.

The consultants recommend that a 9,953-square-foot library be built in Smithsburg to replace the existing 1,713-square-foot building.

Estimated cost of the new library is $2.6 million, according to distributed documents.

The consultant also suggested that a 13,787-square-foot library be built in Boonsboro to replace a 1,713-square-foot facility.

The estimated cost of the building is $3.5 million, according to the consultant's documents.

The estimates do not include land acquisition.

Each new library would be built at an undetermined site on about 4 to 10 acres.

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The two libraries could have meeting and story-time rooms, indoor restrooms and better parking facilities, the consultant said.

The consultant's report also suggests that the size of the central library in Hagerstown should be increased from 44,579 square feet to 65,282 square feet.

The 38-year-old library needs more space for restrooms and for reading areas, a youth area, book collections and other areas. The Western Maryland Room should be enlarged, according to the report.

Air handlers, boiler and water system and windows should be replaced, among other work, representatives of the consulting firm said.

The total cost of the work at the main library is estimated at about $7.5 million.

The town libraries have a higher priority than the central library, library Director Mary Baykan said.

It is rare that clients do everything proposed, so the next step might be to rank the suggestions in the report by priority, Klinedinst said.

"This is a good start, to evaluate what we need," Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said.

Snook pointed out that it helps when communities push for projects in their towns.

The 8,000-square-foot Clear Spring Library, for which ground is to be broken next week, is budgeted at about $800,000, with the county's share about $200,000, Snook said.

As with the Clear Spring library, the county will look to Smithsburg and Boonsboro to help raise money for their projects, Commissioner Bert L. Iseminger said.

Baykan said the Library Board has used $200,000 from a bequest by Louise Sutter to provide four $50,000 challenge grants.

If supporters raise at least $50,000 for one of the projects, then that project will receive $50,000 from the fund. The Clear Spring project has raised enough to obtain one of the grants, Baykan said.

The consultant projected the growth of Smithsburg, Boonsboro and Hagerstown in order to get a sense of how many people use the libraries now and how much use will increase in the future.

The current county population is about 128,000, according to the consultant firm, which projects the population will increase to 139,000 by 2020, amounting to a .4 percent annual increase.

The library system paid the consulting firm $15,000 for the report, according to Baykan.

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