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Ground broken on Boonsboro library

October 25, 2006|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

BOONSBORO - First, Clear Spring. Then, Smithsburg.

Now, Boonsboro's time has come - for a new library branch.

That's why about 75 people stood Tuesday in a wind whipping enough to blow open a hardcover book.

People talked excitedly about years of planning and fundraising for a 10,000-square-foot library branch off Md. 34.

The current building - a former bank - is "older than dirt," said Mary Baykan, director of Washington County Free Library, which has branches throughout the county.

Baykan said it will cost about $2.3 million to build the new branch. About half is being raised privately and the rest through government sources, she said.

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Maryland's two U.S. senators are pursuing federal funding, according to people representing them at Tuesday's groundbreaking ceremony.

Baykan said the town of Boonsboro donated the land.

Small, outdated branches in Smithsburg and Clear Spring have been replaced in recent years with larger new buildings.

Boonsboro's new branch will have a light-filled glass reading area, said Todd R. Grove of the architecture firm Murphy & Dittenhafer, which designed the building.

The building also will have an expanded book collection, DVDs, broadband Internet access, books on tape and other modern amenities, Baykan said.

Callas Contractors has been hired to build the branch. Grove said it will take about 10 months.

Elected officials from the town, county and state were among those gathered in the blustery cold for the groundbreaking.

Gregory I. Snook, president of the Washington County Commissioners, said he recently saw memos from 1999 talking about plans for the branch.

"The first thing I want to say is: Finally .... It will be a centerpiece for our town," Mayor Charles F. "Skip" Kauffman Jr. said.

John R. Hershey III, the president of Washington County Free Library's board of trustees, said the new branch is "not a place to store books, but an engine of learning."

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