By PAMELA HOESMAN
Birchard Library Director
Preliminary sketches are available at the Birchard Library of an addition and renovation drawn to reflect community requests.
In the fall of 2016, Birchard Public Library, in partnership with the State Library of Ohio, conducted a community survey and focus groups to ascertain what the community wanted to see from their library in the 2020s. The top needs identified from that study were a more spacious and accessible entry and checkout area, a teen room, a local history room, additional meeting and tutoring spaces, technology training, updated restroom facilities, an outdoor space for programs and more parking. The library has been working with the Buehrer Group, Architecture and Engineering, Inc., to devise a plan that will meet the expressed current and future needs of our community.
We are pleased to announce that the plans for the new addition and renovation include all of the above community requests.
Why will the addition be on the west side?
The plan includes an addition to the west side of the building which will require the closing of one block of High Street. Why build on the west side? The north side has the War of 1812 memorial, the east side has a sharp drop in elevation, and the south side has a deep garage area that once housed the book mobile. The west side is relatively flat and includes an empty lot owned by the library that was previously home to the middle school. The school sold the lot to the library for one dollar with the expectation that the lot would be used in the future for improvements to library services which would benefit the whole community.
How much will the building project cost?
The architect is estimating that the project cost will be between $5.5 million – $6 million. A more precise estimate will be available when blueprints are completed.
How will the building project be paid for?
In addition to $3.4 million dollars currently in the library building fund, the library is working to obtain grants and loans from local, state, and federal programs that offer funding for community projects. A donor program for contributions from businesses and the public in partnership with the Birchard Library Association Foundation is now available on the library website.
www.Birchard.org At the homepage, click on Birchard Library Association Foundation.
Pamela M. Hoesman is library director for Birchard Public Library of Sandusky County, 423 Croghan St., Fremont.