Library expansion in planning stage

By Mary Ann Kearns - [email protected]
Mason County Public Library -

The Mason County Public Library has a preliminary plan, perhaps more like a vision, to expand its facility in downtown Maysville, Director Valerie Zempter said Friday.

The library has been exploring an expansion for more than a year and had even considered building a new facility in another location. The current facility, built about 20 years ago, is faced with significant foundation problems and there are issues with the underlying soil. The foundation and soil problems first surfaced several years ago when the library added a children’s section to the present building.

Members of the library board also expressed concerns during public meetings that any expansion now would be the end of available space for expanding at the current location. But after the majority of public opinion clearly favored keeping the library downtown and with few other options available in the area, board members agreed to expand the current building.

Zempter presented what she called a drawing that imagines “what the floor plan might be,” for the expansion during an appearance before the Maysville Rotary Club earlier this week. The library board has hired an architectural firm — Pearson & Peters Architects of Lexington, she said, and the schematic design concept was submitted by that firm.

Zempter emphasized that the concept is not a plan and that there may be changes. But preliminary plans call for a 6,000-7,000 square foot expansion that would greatly expand public meeting space and sections for children and teens, she said. It would also add parking and may even include an outdoor program area, according to Zempter.

“There’s an awful lot that has to happen before we turn a shovel,” she said. It could be late fall before construction begins.

State library standards call for .8 square feet per capita and that’s what the library is aiming for, she said.

Through wise money management practices, the library board has $3.7 million in funding available, Zempter said.

“We’ve managed carefully and responsibly for expansion,” she said. “That’s what we planned and here we are.”

Early estimates have a $3 million price tag on the expansion, but that too could change, Zempter said.

Mason County Public Library County Public Library

By Mary Ann Kearns

[email protected]