A day after the newly remodeled main branch of the Kokomo/Howard County Public Library opened, board members voted to move forward with the expansion of the South Branch facility.
Board members voted 4-2 Monday to move forward with construction of a new Outreach Building to house the Outreach, Collection and Bookmobiles at the South Branch site on Center Road.
The board voted to move forward with the project at a cost range of between $800,000 and $900,000.
Because four votes are needed for adoption of a motion, board president Susan Luttrell voted with Jim Seidel, Mary Baker and Joe Dunbar to move forward with the project. Gil Hendrickson and Tom Trine voted no. Stan Ortman didn’t attend the meeting.
Hendrickson said he was comfortable with an $800,000 budget, but was concerned the amount would be closer to $900,000 if that was the budget being discussed.
Trine said at $800,000, the expansion of the South Branch was the right direction to take.
“At a cost of over $800,000, we should look at other options,” he said.
Seidel said the Feasibility Committee has been discussing how to proceed once an offer to purchase Lincoln School from Kokomo-Center Schools was not accepted.
“Cost was the reason we selected Lincoln School over construction at the South Branch,” he said. “We want to know if cost of an addition could be kept down to $800,000.”
Hendrickson said the committee investigated the inventory of existing buildings in Kokomo and found none that were good candidates to meet the needs of the library system.
Charles Joray, executive director, said architect Mike Montgomery was asked if his architectural company KR Montgomery could construct an addition to the South Branch for $800,000.
Montgomery said the original plan to expand the South Branch was $1 million. He said the cost could be reduced by not finishing the interior of the building, since it wasn’t open to the public.