Council hears Kalona Public Library building plans

By Mary Zielinski (free-lance)
Posted 10/21/99

The Kalona Public Library wants to take the next step toward a new building, and Monday told the city council it will start looking for an architect.

The move is simply one requesting information …

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Council hears Kalona Public Library building plans


The Kalona Public Library wants to take the next step toward a new building, and Monday told the city council it will start looking for an architect.

The move is simply one requesting information and qualifications from the Iowa Institute of Architects as well as from the library’s consultant, George Lawson, Library Board President Scott Stapleton told the council.

The immediate aim is to have an architect to “do site testing,” said Stapleton.

Key consideration is to keep the library essentially on its current site, something that may well involve removing the present building.

Because the library is part of the Kalona Community Center, which also houses city offices, the building project has involved the city virtually from the beginning. In fact, the city helped finance the preparation of a building document, the last step prior to hiring an architect.

Asked what the cost of the site testing would be, Stapleton said that “a ballpark figure is about $5,000. It is a bidding process.”

He also explained that the board expects the city would want input and would be involved in the project.

The building document, completed last year, indicated that a building with some 13,000 square feet would meet existing and future needs of the library.

Stapleton stressed that building a facility that met present needs would “leave us crowded when we opened.”

The plan was to anticipate and meet needs for the next two decades.

Since the Kalona Library has the unusual position of being one of very few “that has experienced growth in circulation,” planning for future growth is not a bad idea.

Councilman Ken Herington asked if a new building could be designed to meet present needs, then be expanded as needed.

Library Director Anne Skaden explained that the library’s current available footage of approximately 2,300 sq. ft. is less than half of the 5,000 sq. footage it should have.

“In other words, you really don’t have room for what you’ve got right now,” said councilman Steve Reif.

“Yes,” said Skaden.

Stapleton stressed that “we hope it will work at this site,” referring to site testing.

He also told the council that the last fiscal year “was a very good year” for the library which received several grants, has nearly fully automated its collection and saw a library foundation established.

He explained that the Foundation, which is incorporated, is in the process of obtaining tax-exempt status and has discussed initial plans to raise funds for a new library building.

He also noted that the library had some security problems and asked the council about installing some new security devices.

Council members agreed that the city will be involved in plans for a new library building and referred the matter to its Buildings and Grounds Committee.

In other business, the council

•approved a resolution to sell land to Kalona Auto and to Dwight’s Conoco, a move that will resolve a decades-long encroachment upon city land. Initially, City Attorney Michael Brenneman recommended charging simply enough to cover all legal fees, but council members, citing previous city land sales, agreed to a $l per square foot charge, which would be a total of $4,000 for both parcels. Legal fees would be paid from that amount.

•set 7 p.m., November 1 for a public hearing about the land sale.

•received a report from City Administrator Doug Morgan that de-regulation of the electrical industry will bring numerous changes, as well as competition among providers.

•learned that new gutters will be installed on the Kalona Community Center.

•were told that TIF recertification needs to be done by November.