Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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November 8, 2010

Library tables branch expansion

Cost estimates range up to $1.25 million

Kokomo-Howard County Public Library officials want to add onto the South Branch library, but cost concerns ended up postponing the decision Monday.

Board members heard from architect Mike Montgomery about adding 4,800 square foot of office space and a 1,750-square-foot bus garage onto the east side of the South Branch, 1755 E. Center Road.

According to Montgomery, the board can have the spaces built for close to its $800,000 budget, but only if the spaces are left unfinished.

“We know the preference is to have finished space, but we’re pretty sure you’re not going to be able to get these offices and everything for $800,000,” said Montgomery, chief architect of KRM Montgomery Associates, Anderson.

The $800,000 figure also doesn’t include architect fees, and assumes contractors in need of work will also offer a construction discount of about 15 percent.

Board member Gil Hendrickson said he wasn’t sure the board should commit to the project.

He said he estimated that the total cost, if the space was finished and the hoped-for construction discount doesn’t materialize, would be close to $1.25 million.

“We have this use that’s office space and garage space. To me, it’s awfully expensive for the use,” Hendrickson said.

The board, which was without two of its members at the Monday meeting, voted to table the discussion on the South Branch expansion until the Dec. 13 board meeting.

Library board members are looking for a permanent location for the library’s two Bookmobiles as well as the library’s collection management department. Right now, all of the library materials are being catalogued and prepared for the library shelves at a temporary location in a downtown office building, 116 N. Main St.

Board members also voted Monday to formally approve paying the Howard County commissioners $50,000 for the parking lot at the southeast corner of Market and Mulberry streets.

• 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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