Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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June 22, 2011

Library board set on downtown

New building will sit east of Main Branch

Kokomo — Kokomo-Howard County Public Library Board members renewed their commitment to a downtown building project Monday, and added a timetable to their latest project.

Plans are moving forward to build an $850,000 office building with an attached garage on a library-owned parking lot just east of the Main Library.

The building will have a wooden frame and a simple A-frame design, with masonry covering the lower 6 feet of each exterior wall. The structure will sit on the southeast corner of Mulberry and Market streets, next to the Coordinated Assistance Ministries center.

Library board president Jim Seidel said the plans are still contingent on negotiations over downtown parking between the city of Kokomo and the Kokomo Tribune.

If the parking arrangements can be worked out, library officials plan to take the building plans to the Kokomo Plan Commission next month, Seidel said.

“It’s exciting to be so close,” he said. “It has been several years that we’ve been working on this.”

The new building would house the library’s collection management and outreach departments.

Collection management catalogs new materials and prepares them for the library’s public collection, and also culls dated materials from the shelves. Outreach deals primarily with the library’s two bookmobiles. That’s why a garage — where the bookmobiles will be parked — is part of the building plan.

The current cost of the plan — $851,000 — is well below the $1.25 million estimate the board was given to build a similar-sized space at the South Branch, 1755 E. Center Road.

To get to the lower figure, board members reduced the number of restrooms in the new building, limited the amount of masonry used on the exterior, and decided to build a wood-framed building, instead of a steel-framed building.

The board had voted in October to expand the South Branch, just after the Kokomo-Center School board rejected the library board’s bid to purchase the former Lincoln school.

Those plans were scrapped in November, after the $1.25 million cost estimate cooled interest in that location.

• Scott Smith is a Kokomo Tribune staff writer. He may be reached at 765-454-8569 or via e-mail at scott.smith@kokomotribune.com

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