News & Events

A Double Dose of Good News for Area Libraries

 You can call it a double dose of good news for literacy and libraries in the region.

First, the cost of the proposed new Petersburg Public Library is significantly less than expected. The Petersburg Library Foundation said that the cost to build the new library will be about $12.7 million, nearly 25 percent less than the $16 million originally expected. The savings are a result of lower costs for construction, not any cutbacks in the design of the facility.

The foundation has about $7.1 million in funding commitments in hand, and foundation chairman Robert C. Walker said the group is “very comfortable that this community can raise the money needed” to secure financing and get construction started this fall. Construction is expected to take about a year, with another three months needed to complete and furnish the interior.

The new library will be 56,000 square feet and will feature a 300-seat auditorium, a café, wireless access, a large computer area, more shelf space for books and media, improved accessibility and a parking lot. The new facility will include not only a greatly expanded computer room, but also training centers for businesses and adult literacy. The young adult and children’s areas will be much larger than the current spaces.

Cheryl Collins, fund development officer for the foundation, said the increased visibility and access of the new library will make it a resource for the community, both educationally and economically.

The building’s location will likely give a boost to downtown redevelopment efforts, according to foundation members. “This will be a new economic boon to this area,” Walker said, comparing its potential effects to those of the nearby Appomattox Regional Governor’s School and Petersburg Station transit center.

The project’s significance could even extend beyond the city line, Walker said. It “affects all ages and can be a great benefit not just to Petersburg but the entire Tri-Cities area,” he said.

Meanwhile, construction for the new, long-awaited Prince George library is now underway.

The $3 million library will be located near the Prince George courthouse.

The new branch will join the Burrowsville and Disputanta libraries as a part of the Hopewell-headquartered Appomattox Regional Library system.

The 12,500-square-foot, one-story building is expected to be completed by late spring or early summer of next year and will hold 35,000 books.

A ground-breaking ceremony for the library was held in May at the nearby Scott Memorial Park pavilion.

“I am very excited. This is the first time we have built a building specifically for a library,” said Scott Firestine, director of the Appomattox Regional Library System.

The Prince George Women’s Club also raised $7,000 for the library and are continuing to raise money. Members of the club have been supporters of a library for more than two years. Beth Lipp, a member of the women’s club, said the goal was to get a building close to the community.

“We need a library in the community because there are students who don’t have access to a library because Hopewell is not accessible,” said Del Williams, a member of the club.

So the region has one branch library under construction and a major regional library aiming for construction sometime this fall. That is indeed good news for the Tri-Cities area.

Petersburg New Library to Cost Less to Build

 PETERSBURG—Construction on a new public library will cost less than originally projected. The Petersburg Library Foundation announced this morning that bids from construction companies were 25 percent less than expected. Newport News-based W.M Jordan Co., which built the new library in Hopewell, was awarded the contract.

The new cost for the project is $12.7 million—$10 million for construction, $1 million for equipment and $1.7 million for other associated costs. The library was originally projected to cost $16 million. So far, the Foundation has raised $7.1 million for the project.

Officials hope to begin construction by the fall. Once construction begins, the project will take nearly 15 months to be completed. “We’re really pleased that we’ve been—with a little bit of luck and effort on everybody’s part here—able to say that the project has come within a budget that we all feel comfortable to be able to attain and make this thing happen, maybe quicker than we originally thought,“ said Robert C. Walker, chairman of the Library Foundation.

 

New Petersburg library to cost less than projected

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

PETERSBURG — A new library planned for Washington Street will cost less than originally projected.

Lower construction costs for the 56,000-square-foot facility will trim $3.3 million from the library’s nearly $16 million price, Petersburg Library Foundation officials announced yesterday.

The cost of the library is now about $12.7 million.

“We’re really pleased that we’ve been, with a little bit of luck and effort on everybody’s part here, able to say that the project has come within a budget that we all feel comfortable to be able to attain and make this thing happen, maybe quicker than we originally thought,” said Robert C. Walker, chairman of the Library Foundation.

So far, the foundation has raised $7.1 million — which includes $5 million from the city — for the project. Officials hope to begin construction by fall. Once construction begins, the project will take nearly 15 months to complete.

Gil Entzminger, president of Petersburg-based Enteros Design, said bids came in nearly 25 percent lower than they would have two years ago during a stronger construction market. Enteros Design is the architectural firm for the library, which is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design project.

“It’s the right time to build the library from the standpoint of the need for the community, but it’s also the right time to build the library because you’ll never, ever get it at this price again,” said Entzminger.

Though the library comes at a cheaper price, what it offers is not scaled back. The facility, which will be at Washington and Market streets on the site of the former Petersburg Ford, will include a larger space for the children’s library, a 300-person auditorium, a resource center and many technological upgrades.

The design includes a basement to be used for archival purposes, but that is not included in the $12.7 million cost; it is estimated at a cost of $1.5 million to $1.8 million, and funds for it will be raised separately, Walker said.

Newport News-based W.M. Jordan Co., which recently constructed the new library in Hopewell, was selected from six bids to do the construction.

While the foundation has raised $7.1 million already, more is needed to secure construction financing. Walker said the foundation is working out details with various banking institutions and doesn’t yet have a firm figure on how much is needed.

“Whoever we do the construction loan with will dictate the levels of funding we have to have in hand,” he said.

Officials, however, are confident that money can be raised.

“It’s just been incredible to see the community come together and galvanize around this project,” said library director Wayne M. Crocker.


Contact Jeremy Slayton at (804) 649-6861 or jslayton@timesdispatch.com .

Cost of new Petersburg library about 25 percent less than expected

 

Photo: N/A, License: N/A
 

PETERSBURG – The bids for construction of a new Petersburg Public Library are in, and backers of the project were pleasantly surprised to find the cost of the new facility will be much less than previously expected.

The Petersburg Library Foundation said Wednesday that the cost to build the new library will be about $12.7 million, nearly 25 percent less than the $16 million originally expected. Robert C. Walker, president of Roslyn Farm Corp. and chairman of the foundation, said the savings are a result of lower costs for construction, not any cutbacks in the design of the facility.

The foundation has about $7.1 million in funding commitments in hand, and Walker said the group is “very comfortable that this community can raise the money needed” to secure financing and get construction started this fall. Construction is expected to take about a year, with another three months needed to complete and furnish the interior.

The winning bidder is W.M. Jordan Co. of Newport News, which recently built a new headquarters for the Hopewell-based Appomattox Regional Library System. Walker said the foundation doesn’t expect any delays in the construction schedule, in part because of Jordan’s recent experience with a similar project.

The new library was designed by Gil Entzminger of Petersburg-based Enteros Design, which also has recent experience with similar projects, including the design of the new Appomattox Regional Library System branch under construction in Prince George.

The design was created with input from library staff and the public, including three public meetings to gather citizen suggestions. It will feature a 300-seat auditorium, a café, wireless access, a large computer area, more shelf space for books and media, improved accessibility and a parking lot.

The young adult and children’s areas will be much larger than the current spaces, something library Director Wayne Crocker is especially excited about. He noted that the opening of the library’s annual summer reading program can’t be held at the library now because it’s too small to accommodate the number of people who attend.

“I’m looking forward to the day when we can have 300 or 400 kids come to the kickoff of the summer reading program in the library itself,” he said.

Cheryl Collins, fund development officer for the foundation, said the increased visibility and access of the new library will make it a resource for the community, both educationally and economically. The new facility “is going to change hundreds and hundreds of people’s lives within a matter of months” after it opens.

Collins noted that the current downtown library headquarters on Sycamore Street draws about 29,000 people a month despite its cramped space and limited resources. Some of that traffic has been boosted by unemployed people who use library computers to search for jobs. The new facility will include not only a greatly expanded computer room, but also training centers for businesses and adult literacy.

The building’s location will likely give a boost to downtown redevelopment efforts, Walker and Collins agreed. “This will be a new economic boon to this area,” Walker said, comparing its potential effects to those of the nearby Appomattox Regional Governor’s School and Petersburg Station transit center.

The project’s significance could even extend beyond the city line, Walker said. It “affects all ages and can be a great benefit not just to Petersburg but the entire Tri-Cities area,” he said.

The next step, Collins said, is for the foundation to get the rest of the financing arranged so construction can start. “We are positioned here in the next 30 days to gear the fundraising back up,” she said.

If you’d like to donate to the new library, you can do it online at http://www.petersburglibraryfoundation.org.

– Michael Buettner may be reached at 722-5155 or mbuettner@progress-index.com

Petersburg Library System Kicks off the Hook a Book Summer Reading Program

Click here to find out more information

Website Design By