Archive for Wednesday, September 4, 2002

Plans progress on Basehor library

Election will be held on bonds to finance building on donated land

September 4, 2002

During the nearly five months since a Basehor man donated land for a new community library building, library staff and board members have worked quietly on the project.

And now, they're ready to hear more opinions.

The board and Carla Kaiser, library director, hope soon to establish a 10-member community advisory board.

"Since we're so close to the library, we're wanting to get input from those people who are not necessarily connected with the library, but who could offer opinions about what the library should be both physically and its services," said Kaiser, who's been director of the library since it opened in 1985.

She is hopeful the committee members, who will make recommendations to the seven-member board, will come from all areas of the large district the library represents.

The library boundaries are generally Leavenworth County Road 8 on the north, Kansas Highway 7 on the east, Kansas Highway 32 on the south and 183rd Street on the west.

The new library will be constructed on three acres on 158th Street, just north of U.S. Highway 24-40, that were donated by Ray Breuer. The library's collection of 18,000 books currently is housed in a rented 4,000-square-foot building.

"What I think is so good about the land that was donated is it's a nice central location," Kaiser said.

While construction of a new library will be financed by bond that must be approved by voters in the library district, it's still not clear how much money will be needed.

"The big thing that we're tackling now is a needs assessment," Kaiser said. "That is something we want the committee to have input into."

The needs assessment will answer a variety of questions, such as how many people the library's meeting room should be, whether the library should have a separate storytime room, should public-access computers be spread throughout the library or should a computer lab be included in the new building.

"All of those go into determining how many square feet are needed," Kaiser said.

An architect will turn the needs assessment into actual plans.

During the next four months, a financial adviser and architect will be selected. In addition, the library board must decide details about the bond election, including when it will be held.

"This is new to all of us," Kaiser said.

"All of the staff and all of the board members are just individuals from the community, so we're learning a lot and going slow to make sure we're doing things right. Everyone is so enthusiastic."

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