The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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June 21, 2013

Library committee creates plan to expand facility

CLINTON — A new building project is in works for the Clinton Public Library as planning for an addition to the west side is under way.

Gere/Dismer Architects J. Brent Anderson and Rob Winters visited the library Tuesday to discuss plans for the renovation.

The presentation included restoration projects to the grand entrance and staircase of the library as well as an expansion of the current building.

Winters said adding the new wing would expand the current library from around 12,000 square feet to 30,000 square feet.

George Lawson, a library planner from Ames, said the Clinton location is about a half step behind many cities of the same size.

"Marshalltown, Ottumwa, Fort Dodge — (their buildings) are already this size," Lawson said.

The point of the renovation planning is to help the community understand what the library can be.

Library Director Amy Bertell has already seen an increase in activity at the library this year and said she knows what an important step it is to consider this project.

"If we can't step up (and do this), we're going to need to step back because we cannot support that many people," Bertell said.

The need may be necessary but to find funding for the project is a main step for the library steering committee.

Rob Tokheim shared his concerns with the committee, stating that he loved the design plans, but that it is difficult to get funding in Clinton.

"I'm concerned if we go all in on this concept, how hard will it be to scale it all back?" Tokheim asked.

Lawson answered Tokheim's questions by saying that if the library did these renovations in steps, it would end up costing the city much more than it needed to.

He compared the project timeline with the metaphor, "you might as well take your medicine now."

Winters made it clear that budget planning has not been discussed and the point of the meeting was to get the architectural plans out in the public so people could get excited about them.

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