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Library Building Project FAQs
What has the Library done to determine that a renovation and expansion project are necessary?
The St. Charles Public Library opened 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. Our current building was designed to serve a population of 44,000, and we currently serve a population of over 55,000 residents.
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 the Library Board and 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 in 2018, 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. We will be moving temporarily moving to the recently-closed Haines Middle School in spring 2020. Construction is anticipated to take 12-14 months. More information on the full project timeline will be available in the near future, 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 funds, which are set aside for upkeep and renovation projects as needed. On April 10, 2019, the Board of Trustees passed Ordinance 2018-2019-7 to approve bond issues to fund the remaining $5 million of 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 levy over the course of the past five years to fund the project. The Board is committed to not raising taxes to fund this 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 a larger expansion 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 primarily funded through the Library’s special reserve funds, therefore, no referendum is necessary.
What will we see happen first, and when will the work begin?
The Library has decided to vacate temporarily the current location and move into the recently-closed Haines Middle School. With the support of CUSD 303 Board and Administration, the Library anticipates moving in the spring of 2020. This will allow Shales McNutt, our construction manager, to occupy the building fully for renovation. Construction is anticipated to last 12-14 months. The Library will only close twice; to move out and then to move back in. Services will be limited at Haines, but we plan on serving our patrons to the best of our ability. We are thankful to be in a large library network to help serve our patrons. Programs will be limited and will be conducted throughout the community.
How much is the Library’s monthly rent to the CUSD 303 for using Haines?
$22,822 per month.