Archive for Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Community library books deal for new site

April 17, 2002

Since its inception in March 1985, the Basehor Community Library has been downtown.

Its a building as familiar to residents as any other in Basehor.

But in 18 months, the library could have a new address.

On Monday, April 15, library officials signed a contract and deed that would relocate the library west, near the Prairie Gardens development on 158th Street.

The new library will reside on three acres, north of Holyfield Wine and Vineyard and west of townhouses being built in Prairie Gardens.

As part of a charitable agreement, Prairie Gardens developer Ray Breuer sold the three-acre site to the library for $1.

"One thing's for sure: from here on out, it's a go," Breuer said during the Monday night signing ceremony.

Breuer was given a framed $1 dollar bill during the signing.

"This is a big step," said Carla Keiser, library director. "Having the land donated takes care of a good size expense."

How much it will cost to build the new library remains on the drawing board.

To fund a new building, Basehor voters will have to approve a bond issue, which could be brought to the polls by November, library officials said.

If the library issue makes the November ballot and is approved by voters, the library's move wouldn't occur until 2004, Keiser said.

"We're looking at two years and that would be optimistic," she said.

It would also take at least that long to determine how big a facility the library will need and what kind of building would best serve the community.

"How big of a collection are we going to have in 10 or 20 years? How many computers will we have? How many shelves? They are all factors into (figuring) the square footage," Keiser said.

However, rough estimates indicate the new library could be as large as 15,000 square feet.

The current library building is approximately 4,000 square feet, which a recent library report determined was inadequate for services the library offers to residents.

Over the years, the library has grown significantly in both materials and readers.

According to 2001 figures, the Basehor Community Library has a circulation of 43,874, with more than 500 weekly visitors.

Having undergone two expansion projects in recent years, there is little room left to host existing library programs, Keiser said.

A child's group and craft -making class has already been moved off site because there is not enough room, she said.

"We can't even provide services we have in the past at this building," Keiser said.

For Keiser, who has been director since the library was established, the exodus from the original building is a bitter-sweet feeling, she said.

"I think the building is warm and cozy, but we're going to try to keep that warm feeling at the new one," she said.

"It will be much better to serve the people in the area."

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