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NO to Library Expansion; YES to Alvamar Satellite


The Lawrence Public Library has plans for an $18 million expansion that will be voted on this Tuesday, November 2, 2010. A library expansion is long overdue. However, the trustees have chosen the wrong time and the wrong proposal to put forward.

Taxpayers, faced with lower income and increasing taxes, cannot afford to have the city spend money that taxpayers do not have. The estimated cost of $13,000,000 - or $650 per square foot - is between two and four times the national average for construction of a public library. Reed Construction Data has analyzed projects from across the country and provides a summary of average library construction costs.

Library officials are also asking for an additional $5,000,000 for a 5-Story, 145,000 Square Foot Parking Garage which could park over 400 cars. Oops, my bad - that is just what taxpayers should get for $5 million. Instead they are only building a two-story garage that will allow for 230 parking spaces. Once again, the cost is estimated way above the national average of $15,552 per space, which comes to $3.6 million.

That is correct, the proposed parking garage should cost $3.6 million, coincidentally the same amount that it cost to construct Eagle Bend Golf Course, which was completed in 1998.

Now, isn't this a nifty little segueway?

Ironically, Alvamar, Inc. has just announced plans to sell the Alvamar Country Club and Golf Courses. According to a Lawrence Journal-World story, "The offering includes both 18-hole golf courses; the private clubhouse, dining room and related operations; the public clubhouse, pro shop and snack bar; an indoor/outdoor private practice facility; cart storage; a maintenance building; and access to a private pool on the campus of Bishop Seabury Academy."

I propose that the City of Lawrence purchase the Alvamar Country Club as a joint (that means combined, not honk for hemp) venture between the Lawrence Public Library and Lawrence Parks and Recreation. This proposal would triple the City's golfing value by adding two outstanding courses for considerably less money per course than what it originally cost to open Eagle Bend. Parks and Recreation could use part of the land as a home for the proposed BMX Bike Track.

The current Country Club could be converted into an upscale satellite library. This library would sport one of the finest coffee shops and grills in the nation. There would be room for computers, a children's area, and possibly even room for some books. The satellite library would have plenty of parking and easy access. In fact, with access to the Seabury Acedemy swimming pool, it will have everything the downtown library has. All for only $6.5 million.

If you love children and literacy, but just cannot support a major tax increase that will fund a developer's over-priced proposal - vote NO on Tuesday. If you believe that there are less expensive solutions to improve our local library - vote NO on Tuesday. If you want to offer up a silly idea that is one-third the cost of the Library trustee's proposal, and would benefit more of the community, then write-in "Buy Alvamar." Just ask your election officials where you can "write-in" a candidate so as to not deface and void your election ballot.

Seriously, just get out and vote!

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Benjamin Roberts 7 years, 7 months ago

A comment on another thread, http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2010/oct/28/library-traffic/#c1405972, responded to this blog:

normal_entire_route (anonymous) says… "To Did_I_Say. The numbers you are using are not apples to apples. The chart in your link respresents [sic] simple construction cost for new construction and the 13 mil. you reference is total project cost including costs not accounted for in your chart and includes both renovation and new construction numbers also not in your chart.

The square footage you use to calculate the cost per square foot is wrong. The 13 mil. goes towards renovation of the entire library and for construction of a small addition which combined represent a much larger scope of work than the small square foot number you are using in your calculation.

You are using bad information. The correct information is availbable both on the city's web site AND at the library. :)"

Benjamin Roberts 7 years, 7 months ago

"The correct information is availbable both on the city's web site AND at the library."

Do you have a link that breaks down the numbers? The only one I found listed the total cost of $18M. A story a few months ago broke out the parking garage. I would be happy to change the information if there is an accurate break-out of costs.

Moreover, I am not sure that helps support the cause. If you extract the cost of the addition, based upon above average building costs (20K sq. ft. X $200 = $4 million), add $5 million for the overpriced parking, that results in $9,000,000 being left for ... renovations?! An even more extravagant expenditure, if that is the case.

hail2oldku 7 years, 7 months ago

9 million would buy an awful lot of I-pads to use.

RoeDapple 7 years, 7 months ago

libarry? we dont need no stinking libarry

d_prowess 7 years, 7 months ago

I would too like to see how much is for new construction versus renovations. And don't want to hear the library's standard "we don't know specifics until we have approval" garbage. You have to have general estimates in order to even come up with the $18 million number. So give us those. And really, that type of information is what should have been in the "unbiased" flier that the library included in city customer bills!

beatrice 7 years, 7 months ago

I agree! They shouldn't put a golf course on top of the new library.

LadyJ 7 years, 7 months ago

They should have waited and bought Alvamar instead of assuming ownership of the old Co-op plant.

David Klamet 7 years, 7 months ago

Combination library and golf course. I love it.

Exercise for you body and your mind!

Plenty of room for bookshelves and a nice view.

$6.5 million for Alvamar, say $3.5M for renovations for it and the downtown library and you save $8 million. Plus an income from green fees.

Sell Eagle Bend and that brings the price down even more!

Crazy, you think I'm crazy? No more so than anyone who seriously considers an expenditure of this magnitude in times like these.

If so, I chose insanity over arrogance and insensitivity.

Spend money on books, spend money on computers and technology, even spend money on updating the building and you will have my support.

But spending money to create a "showcase" that has no real value and you have left me behind.

I voted for the "T", I hope, and I think, it was an investment that will turn out to be a wise one.

The US has started to to lag the rest of the world.. Our education, infrastructure...even our health. An investment is needed in this area. A new building and a few computers is not the answer.

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