Temporary location sought for library

June 10, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- Officials are looking for a spot to temporarily relocate the Washington County Free Library in Hagerstown if the building closes within the next year to undergo renovations.

About 30 public officials attended a meeting Wednesday in one of the library's conference rooms to receive a progress report on the project, which is expected to cost between $18 million and $20 million. The audience included members of the Hagerstown City Council, Washington County Commissioners and Washington County Board of Education.

Harry Reynolds, chairman of the library's building committee, said officials will seek a contractor next year to renovate the library.

The library was built in 1964 and no longer can accommodate an increasing number of visitors.

Reynolds said if everything goes well, construction would be completed in late 2011. Until then, the library will be required to provide services somewhere downtown for the general public and students from the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, he said.


The school is set to open in the fall at 7-11 S. Potomac St., and serve high school students who want to pursue an education in the arts.

Mary Baykan, director of the Washington County Free Library, said after the meeting that library officials are bound by a memorandum of understanding to provide a library for the students.

Baykan said the students could work around the construction -- if planners decide the library doesn't have to be demolished -- and use portions of the building that aren't being renovated.

"No matter what happens, we will be the library for Barbara Ingram," she said. "If we're going to be the campus library, it's going to have to be within spitting distance of the school."

Baykan praised the collaboration of several agencies, including the Hagerstown and Washington County governments, for making the renovations possible.

Funding sources

The following are the funding sources and approximate dollar amounts for a renovation project for the Washington County Free Library

o State of Maryland -- $10 million

o Washington County -- $4 million

o City of Hagerstown -- $1.5 million

o Library Board of Trustees -- $1 million

o Fundraising -- $1 million

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