CARTHAGE, Mo. — Space to learn, space to share, space to grow — that’s the theme behind a Carthage Public Library project to add a multipurpose educational building to the library’s campus.
The Carthage Public Library Board of Trustees approved unanimously on Tuesday a $484,188 contract with Dalton-Killinger Construction Co., of Joplin, to build a 2,100-square-foot building between the parking lot and the memorial gardens along Maple Street between Sixth and Seventh streets east of the main library building.
Library Director Julie Yockey said a $556,000 grant from the Kent D. and Mary L. Steadley Trust will pay the cost of construction and outfitting the new building with security and other features.
“Holy cow, I’m excited,” Yockey said immediately after Tuesday’s vote. “If there’s ever a time to cry about something it’s now. Look how hard we’ve worked to get to this point. This is huge for the community.”
Yockey said the total cost for the project is estimated at $830,000.
Steadley Trust is paying to construct the building, while grants from the Helen S. Boylan Foundation, the Thelma Stanley Trust and the Carthage Public Library Development Foundation will provide money to buy furniture, tools, technology and all the things needed to outfit the building.
Yockey said the project came out of a need for more storage space at the library.
“Our dream has grown into a multipurpose educational building for the patrons of the Carthage Public Library, for users of all ages, ethnic, cultural and financial backgrounds,” Yockey said in a release. “The building will be used to enhance and broaden our already popular children’s and adult programs, plus we will focus on offering the popular makerspaces to people of all ages.”
Yockey said the heart of the building will be a 1,700-square-foot room that can be used for meetings of up to 135 people, used by small groups for classes or activities, and individuals for projects or individual education.
This room will be equipped with a full kitchen, computers, a 3D laser printer for etching all sorts of different materials, and a wide assortment of other tools.
“We’ve never been able to have cooking classes or nutrition classes,” Yockey said. “We’ll be able to do that. We’ll have sewing machines; we’ll have art carousels with easels and art supplies so people can come in on their own or take classes. We’re going to have tools, woodworking tools, engineering tools, lawn tools for people who have library cards to come in and borrow for free. The possibilities are absolutely endless.”
Yockey said the Ozark Gateway Master Gardeners are considering the building as a training space because of its proximity to the E.L. Dale Memorial Gardens, a botanical garden funded by the Steadley Trust and Boylan Foundation.
The second floor will provide climate-controlled storage for the library’s collection of toys and manipulative educational tools.
Yockey said the building will have a patio and space for outdoor activities.
Gary Cole, a member of the Library Board of Trustees who served on a building subcommittee, said five companies bid on the project with bids ranging from $579,000 to the winning bid.
Cole said the library knew it had $516,000 in Steadley grant money to use on the actual building, so the committee immediately threw out the three bids that exceeded that amount.
The companies with the two lowest bids were invited to a meeting with the building committee and the architect, Hunter and Millard, and asked to provide ways to lower their bids without affecting the project or the quality of construction.
Cole said Dalton-Killinger was able to shave about $12,000 off its bid with suggestions that were acceptable to the architect.
Cole said the bid leaves a cushion of about $30,000 for unforeseen expenses.
Construction could begin in as little as two weeks and the building is expected to be finished in the summer or fall of 2020.
Yockey said the library hopes to spend between $250,000 and $300,000 outfitting the building with the items the library patrons can use, but the final amount depends on how much the library receives in donations and grants.
“The possibilities are endless,” Yockey said. “The more money I can gather up, the more we can offer.”