Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

February 23, 2009

Trines want library to expand

‘ROCKET’ plan would add extension to downtown branch

A plan to not only renovate the downtown Main Library — but expand it as well — was floated to the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library Board Monday as perhaps the board’s “last chance” to increase the size of the 40-year-old building.

Library board member Tom Trine came to Monday’s special meeting with drawings, created within the past week, of what a possible expansion might look like.

But the other library board members, who agreed to a different plan in December, brought architect Mike Montgomery to the meeting.

The result was a 90-minute discussion on the pros and cons of expansion vs. renovation, where a proposed new Outreach Building might be located, and how Trine’s plan would be funded.

Tom Trine, who joined the board at the beginning of the year, called it the “ROCKET” plan, a $6.4 million proposal to add 15,000 square feet onto the east side of the Main Library, renovate the first floor of the existing building, and build a 5,000-square-foot bookmobile garage/office building.

“For us to get involved in this, what we were looking at is the time,” Howard County Commissioner Dave Trine, Tom Trine’s brother, said during the meeting. “If there’s any time to spend your money, now is the time.”

Much of the conversation centered on money, with several board members, not including Tom Trine, expressing concern about the cost difference between expanding and renovating.

Last week, the library board publicly unveiled preliminary designs for a $3.4 million renovation of the Main Library, and renovation Montgomery proposed along with plans to spend $1 million on a new Outreach Building.

The idea behind the library board’s plan, which was agreed to in December, was to move non-public services out of badly needed space at the Main Library.

Montgomery set a target of reducing, by half, the amount of “unassigned space” — i.e. space not available for public use — at the Main Library by half.

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