New Site For New Library?

Published 2:46 pm Tuesday, June 10, 2014

BUCKINGHAM — The location of a proposed new public library in Buckingham is slated to move from its original site at the intersection of Main Street and Industrial Park Road, to three acres of County-owned property on Wingo Road, adjacent to the Buckingham Recycling Center, several hundred feet off of U.S. Route 15.

Members of the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously during their June 9 meeting to hold a public hearing on the matter on Monday, July 14 at 7:30 p.m.

The action drew little discussion from supervisors following a report from District Four Supervisor John N. Staton, who serves on the board-commissioned library liaison committee.

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“I bring you a short report on the library committee…After studying and looking over the land…that was set aside for the library…at eight and 11 feet when the test borings were done, they hit water. It’s also fill (dirt) in the land,” Staton explained.

“The foundation for that is the foundation that you would put in shrink-swell soil, which would be somewhere between 70 and 100 thousand dollars more expensive to (build) than on virgin soil,” he noted.

Staton explained that building on the original site would create additional costs, such as finding appropriate soil, transporting it and implementing erosion and sediment control and storm water rules.

“And it gets into a mess,” he emphatically stated.

“What we need is something that we can base solid figures on. And I would like to request the board to reserve three acres beside the recycling center on old 15 at the site so we can proceed with a biddable set of plans and get to a base dollar amount that we can bring back to the board,” he concluded.

The request preceded a motion by District Six Supervisor Joe N. Chambers Jr. to hold the July public hearing, with the motion being seconded by Monroe Snoddy, who represents District 1.

Library Response

“I view the proposed change in (the) building site as a positive step towards the construction of a new library for the citizens of Buckingham,” noted Frank Howe, a member of the library’s fundraising committee, in a Tuesday morning email to The Herald.

“While both sites are well-situated for ease of public access, this newly-proposed site may actually reduce overall construction costs. I am not aware of any drawbacks to this proposal and look forward to the public hearing on this issue with the hope that we can move forward on the construction of our much-needed beautiful and beneficial new library,” he concluded.

Project Background

An ad-hoc liaison committee, consisting of members of the library board and board of supervisors, was established earlier this year to discuss the proposed new library.

Earlier this year, organizers of the proposed new Buckingham County Public Library sought a funding partnership with the County to secure funds to construct the facility.

The proposal, presented in a PowerPoint presentation by Brian Bates and Howe, members of the library’s fundraising committee, included working with the County’s Industrial Development Authority to facilitate the loan proceeds to the library board.

Julie Kline Dixon, with Rosney Co. Architects, who drew the conceptual plans for the proposed library, told The Herald in an April email that construction estimates had decreased.

“As you know from Frank and Brian's presentation, the Library Building Committee assumed a building cost in the neighborhood of $3 million — in line with the building cost of the new Crozet Library and others in the area…We are thrilled to learn that multiple contractors, after reviewing more than 24 pages of drawings and 340 pages of specifications produced during the course of the last year, have estimated the building in the neighborhood of 2.5 million dollars total.”

County Administrator Rebecca S. Carter indicated in May that there are some discussions on whether the library project should go before the planning commission as a capital improvement project. “We’re still working on that,” she related during a May interview with The Herald.