Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

April 23, 2009

Columbian could be temp library

School to be closed after spring semester.

Kokomo’s Main Library may set up temporary quarters at Columbian School, one of two area elementary schools slated for closure.

If plans win approval from the Kokomo-Center Schools board, the library would move to Columbian in August, and would operate from the school for up to a year while a full-scale renovation of the current library takes place.

“We’ll see how the school corporation feels about it,” board president Susan Luttrell said. “They’ll have an empty building, and we have a need.”

Library officials decided in December to proceed with a $4 million renovation of the Main Library, 220 N. Union St.. The renovation will include an overhaul of the heating and cooling system, the addition of windows and a redesigning of the building’s floorplan.

Architect Mike Montgomery urged the board to temporarily move the library, saying any money spent on rent would be more than offset by a quicker construction schedule.

Luttrell said the board has submitted a request to the schools and is awaiting a response.

Darrough Chapel Elementary and Columbian will close after the current school year, as part of KCS’ consolidation plan.

The school district may find a use for some of the space at Darrough Chapel, but Columbian should be available to rent, Luttrell said.

She said the library would begin moving around the beginning of August, and construction on the renovation could begin around the end of the same month.

Luttrell estimated construction will take anywhere from 10 months to a year.

Library officials are also still trying to decide on a location for a new building, either in Kokomo’s core downtown area, or next to the South Branch, 1755 E. Center Road.

Plans call for the library to build up to a 10,000-square-foot, pre-engineered, steel building to house the library’s Outreach and Collection Management services.

Luttrell said the board is still considering a downtown location for the building, which is a necessary part of the renovation project.

By moving the non-public Outreach and Collection Management services out of the Main Library building, board members hope to free up more space for use by the public.

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