At their board meeting yesterday, members of the Peninsula Community Library (PCL) Board listened to a presentation by Mark Humitz and Jamie Colburn of Cornwell Architects and saw the first drawings of the interior of the new library.
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The board is hoping to break ground on the new library sometime this fall, possibly even September, and be in the new building on the corner of Center Road and Island View Road sometime next year.
While the final construction documents and drawings will be completed and ready for bids by the end of June, PCL Board President Heatherlyn Reamer notes that they need the remainder of their $2.5 million fundraising goal to be in place.
“We are dollars away from our $2 million goal, but the next step is to raise the remaining money, and then we can go out for bids,” she says, adding that some donors were waiting for the final construction documents before committing to their gifts.
“People see that this is real,” says Reamer. “This is going to happen.”
The library recently hosted a picnic on the building site to celebrate their fundraising goals thus far (see photos here). The construction of the library is 100 percent financed by private individual and corporate contributions and foundation grants.
The building project dates back to 1990, when the library board had the foresight to purchase the 5.25 acres where the new building will be located. Their long-term goal was to construct a building separate from Old Mission Peninsula School, where the library has been housed since 1957, when it opened on the stage in the gym.
Twenty-six years later, in September 2016, a capital campaign was launched to transform the library into a community hub to meet the educational, informational and recreational needs of all OMP residents. That includes keeping pace with changing information technology needs, Internet, and Wi-Fi, as well as more room to accommodate the growth of book, DVD, and CD collections. More programs and resources aimed at adults, teens, young children, midlife job-seekers and retired senior citizens is also part of the plan.
“The new library is a promise from the Old Mission residents of today to the Old Mission residents of tomorrow that they will always have a gathering place on the Peninsula,” says PCL Director Vicki Shurly. “A place to learn, a place to socialize, a place to stay informed, a place where community comes together.”
The new library indeed has something for everyone, including a local history room, public computer area, a fireplace, exhibits, music programs, 21st century technology and a community room for both the library and other local groups such as the OMP Historical Society, Mission Point Lighthouse, Peter Dougherty Society, Peninsula Township and others.
Shurly notes that nearly every idea from their first community meeting is incorporated into the plan. “The kids wanted pastries, so we have a little refrigerator and microwave in the coffee bar. The comfy seating area, the place for teens to hang out, the community room, the archive room … it’s just incredible.”
She says the water fountains even have a device to easily fill water bottles, “because we expect more bikers.”
Reamer adds, “It truly is the heart of the community. It’s functional, it’s welcoming, it’s warm, it’s old and new coming together, and the location is really perfect. I can’t imagine putting this library anywhere else.”
Reamer notes that working with Cornwell Architects has been a very collaborative effort, including Jamie Colburn’s attention to detail. “She just knew what we were after,” says Reamer. “We had those community meetings where we took all these ideas that everyone brought in, and then we just fine-tuned it. And what we didn’t come up with, Jamie did.”
The location and size of the property also offers better access and more parking for both handicapped and non-handicapped patrons, as well as a children’s garden, play area, a patio, and a large outdoor area for gardens themed to reflect the OMP agricultural heritage.
The library itself is also reminiscent of a country farmhouse, “but it’s an entirely contemporary building at the same time,” says Shurly.
Another aspect of the new project that both Reamer and Shurly are excited about is the carriage house, a building right next to the library that will be used for storage, including the Friends of PCL’s annual summer book sale.
“We really needed the storage space, so this is incredible,” says Reamer. “And the Friends can have their book sale here.”
Mark your calendars for this summer’s book sale, which runs from July 19 – August 1. Friends President Nancy Davy promises that there will be a lot more books than in previous years.
“This has been just an incredible community process,” says Shurly. “We’ve had so many people involved in so many ways – donors, people sitting on committees, people offering to help with events. it really has brought the community together, and it’s resulted in a very visible entity that we can all be proud of.”