Eudora Community Library Board plans referendum next spring on $4.6M bond issue for new library

photo by: Submitted by Gould Evans

The Eudora Community Library Board is planning a mail-in ballot referendum for spring 2022 on a bond issue to construct a new library. This rendering by architecture firm Gould Evans shows what the new building would look like.

Voters in the city and township of Eudora will be asked this coming spring to approve a $4.6 million bond issue to construct a new library, the president of the Eudora Community Library Board said.

The board is currently working with Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew to ensure that paperwork is in place to give the library board the authority to advance a bond issue, said Eric Magette, library board president. Once that is done, the board will submit bond language for a mail-in referendum to be scheduled for early or mid-spring, he said.

Should the bond issue be scheduled in that time frame and pass, construction on the new 14,000-square-foot library could start this spring and the new library could open in 2022, Magette said. The new library would be just south of the current library, on the other side of Ninth Street.

The Kansas Legislature approved a bill in 2019 that restructured the library board and gave it the authority to raise 5 mills of property taxes annually for operating expenses, Magette said. The legislation also gave the library the right to advance property-tax-backed bond issues for capital projects.

Renderings of a new design by architecture firm Gould Evans have been on display since late August in the library, Eudora Library Director Carol Wohlford said.

The new 14,000-square-foot library design is 2,000 square feet larger than a previous preliminary design shared with the public in 2018. It would also cost $1.6 million more than the $3 million cost that was estimated when the library board launched a capital campaign in 2017 to help fund the project.

Magette, Wohlford and Gould Evans architect Whitney Lang said the more spacious design would better meet the current and future needs of the growing community. The new library would have a flexible, open design that would save construction costs when the interior was modified to accommodate future needs, Lang said.

Magette said he is confident the bond issue will pass based on a 2016 feasibility study that showed wide support for a new library. The new design has features such as a community room, a study room and a children’s video game room that are standard in modern libraries and should appeal to many residents in Eudora, he said.

“The community room is something that would be very popular,” he said. “There aren’t many places available in Eudora for special events or where clubs and organizations can have meetings.”

A number of capital campaigns conducted during the past four years have raised $500,000 for the new library. That money will be used for post-construction needs such as furnishing and technology, Magette said. However, Wohlford said the library would apply for grants to help with those expenses.

In a departure from earlier plans, the library would not retain ownership of its current building when the new library opens, Wohlford said. Ownership of that building would revert back to the city.

If the bond issue passes, the library board will enter a design-build contract with Gould Evans and Mar Lan Construction. Lang would serve as the project’s design manager, and Mar Lan would be the construction manager, Magette said.

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