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Building Project FAQs
What has the Library done to determine that a renovation and expansion project are necessary?
The St. Charles Public Library opened in its current location in 1908, with expansion projects completed in 1964 and 1988. Intermittent upkeep and renovation projects of varying size and scope have taken place since that time, the last in 2014. At the time of these projects, Library patrons came to check out materials from our collection, read and study in quiet areas, and seek research help. Patrons still come to the Library to do all that, but they also come to use the internet, use our technology, attend events and programs, hold gatherings and meetings, and more.
Libraries are changing. They are becoming dynamic spaces in a hustling and bustling society, and the St. Charles Public Library must adapt to remain as such. The Library has held focus groups and community input sessions, distributed surveys, and held meetings with residents, community groups, and Library staff to solicit ideas about ways we can continue to best serve patrons well into the 21st century. Through the implementation of the Library’s new strategic plan last year, the Library has adopted the core values of patron-centric, stewardship, excellence, and innovation, and a renovation and modernization will allow us to fully adhere to these core values for years to come.
How long will the project take to complete?
The entire project is expected to take roughly two years to complete in multiple phases. More information on the full project timeline will be available in the coming weeks as we work with our consultants to finalize the concept plans. Please check back here on our website for updates.
How much will it cost to complete the project?
The entire project is projected to cost a total of $18.6 million to complete. The project is already 73% funded through the $13.6 million the Library holds in its special reserve fund, which is set aside for upkeep and renovation projects as needed. The Library’s Finance Committee will be meeting on Tuesday, January 29 at 5 p.m. to discuss how to fund the remaining $5 million for the project.
Will this project result in my taxes being raised?
No. Through responsible financial stewardship, the Library Board of Trustees has been able to set aside a majority of the funds from our regular operating levy over the course of the past 10 years to fund the project.
Doesn’t a renovation or expansion project have to be approved through a referendum?
No. The last referendum regarding a Library expansion centered on how to fund this same project in 2010, which has been in the works since the Board of Trustees committed to an expansion in 2008. Had the referendum passed, the Library would have gone into debt to fund the project by taking out a multi-year bond issue and by raising the operating tax levy. Since then, the plans have been scaled back to a more modest and fiscally-responsible version. It will be majority funded through the Library’s special reserve fund rather than tax monies or bond issues, therefore, no referendum is necessary.
What will we see happen first, and when will the work begin?
The Library will begin the exterior portions of the project first while we work to finalize the phases of interior work. This will primarily involve expanding and rearranging the parking lots to allow more vehicle space and to make the area safer for pedestrians. Additionally, the Library will be slating the two Library-owned properties on South 6th Avenue for demolition in accordance with our proposed site plan. This work is expected to get underway by the end of June 2019.