Group determined to get library addition built

By Katie Zerr

The bids will be let and if what is submitted is close to the architect’s estimates the addition to the A.H. Brown Library will be built this year.

According to the members of the Library Foundation, there is enough funding to build the addition with a community room, but there won’t be much left for any contingencies.

There are still some uncertainties, but the foundation made the decision to move forward with the building project, provided bids for the project are not out of line with funding available.

“This project has been a roller-coaster ride. Not only for us but for this community,” said Fay Jackman, president of the foundation. “We have had some ups and downs, lost some big donations because of the timeline, but all through it we have had fabulous support from the community.”

The group may need more support from the community if more hurdles in the project are encountered.

“People have been so supportive and generous, but we may have to ask them to help out again if contingencies begin to add up,” she said. “Now is the time for those who said they would help with a donation, but have waited until we begin construction, to step up and follow through with that promise.”

The contingencies are any problem that may come up during the construction, as there is little difference between the project estimate and the funding available at this time.

Currently the foundation has $571,462, mostly due in a large part to the hard efforts of the Foundation and the citizens of Mobridge, according Amy Cerney, who is the city council liaison won the project. The foundation has also have been approved for a grant of $250,000, for a total of $821,462 in available funding.

The grant funding needs to be used within 18 months of the approval date, (approved in October 2011) but a one-year extension may be granted.

Currently, the foundation is awaiting information on a loan from the United States Department of Agriculture. According to Cerney, that is a gamble, in her opinion. In 2010, the board heard they had been approved for this funding, but when the announcement for the money came out, the project had not received what they were told was coming. The project was once again delayed by this setback.

The March 2011 estimates from the architect for the addition, new doors and windows, a new roof and new heating system in the current library building were $912,677. The addition, with the community room alternative only total is $816,177.

The remaining alternatives are $10,200 to replace roof on existing building, $20,000 for boiler/air conditioner in existing building, $61,200 for windows in existing building, and $5,100 to replace the existing front door.

“The addition is the immediate goal,” said Jackman. “The renovation of the current building is our next goal. It doesn’t matter if we get this loan, we are moving forward with this project.”

She said the renovations would then be paid for through fundraising efforts.

“We really look forward to being able to provide the programs that we want to and have promised our community once this project is finished,” said A. H. Brown Library Director Karla Bieber. “We are so proud to live in a community that supports us the way that they have through this long process.”

The project has been in the plans for 11 years and there were times when it looked like the construction would finally begin. Cerney said at this point, she thinks the group must move forward with this project.

“The longer we wait, the more inflation increases our costs and we also have the chance of missing out on this $250,000 grant,” she said. “As the numbers reveal, we are cutting it very close. If bids come in high, cuts will need to be made and the community room is an alternate that could be left off. This is something that if we chose not to pursue would not be possible to add at a later time.”

The group said a few of the more popular fundraising events, such as the Tour of Tables, would continue to help offset these costs, but it will take several years to accomplish.

The board and foundation have been preparing for the day the addition would become a reality, including hauling $50,000 in shelving from the State Library in Pierre back to Mobridge in pickups. When they heard those shelves were available, a small group made a quick trip south to bring the shelves back to Mobridge, not realizing how many and how heavy the shelves would be. But they were determined to save the $50,000 it would have cost for handicapped accessible shelving for the new addition.

Bieber said there have been many other examples of residents pitching in to help with the fundraising and contributing to those events. From donating a site for the Tour of Tables, to residents opening their homes for the Christmas Tour of Homes, many others have donated time and efforts to help with the fundraising for the new addition.

“Even the little kids held a read-a-thon to raise funds,” she said. “There have been so many that have done so much for this project.”

In the 11 years of fundraising, some of those whose efforts contributed to the project did not survive to see it come to fruition. The group noted that Clarence Williams and Jo Hall, who both passed away in 2011, were both staunch supporters of the project and contributed to it in many ways.

“I don’t think there is any way we can recall all that has happened in the 11 years we have been through this,” said Jackman. “You can hardly fathom the many people who have helped.”

Others, including Mayor Kyle Jensen, who donated his salary to the projects for two years, and city employees who prepared the new building site, were noted as examples of the support from the city for the project.

“It has been a long haul. We need to move forward and get this done,” said Jackman. “Bids will determine if the project happens now, but we are determined to make it happen.”

Bids are planned to be let in late February or early March after approval by the Mobridge City Council.

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