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Ahoskie Council moves forward with new Library

By CAMERON JERNIGAN

Summer Intern

AHOSKIE – The town of Ahoskie will have a new public library in due time.

At the June 9 Town Council meeting, Town Manager Tony Hammond updated Council and those in attendance on the building of the new Ahoskie Public Library. While a new library in Ahoskie has been discussed for almost a decade, concrete plans for size, location and building have only been in the works for some months.

The new library will be about 7,500 square feet with long term expansion capability of 10,000 square feet.  It will be about 5,000 square feet larger than the current library, located at 210 Church St. across from Eddie Harrell’s Auto and Sports Store.

The new library location, accepted by the Council at its Sept. 9, 2014 meeting, will be East Main Street located next to Southern Bank between the bank and First Presbyterian Church.

The new library will also include collection space, reader seating space, a children’s program area, staff work space, a meeting/study room space, and a special use space.

“Several months ago, the council approved going out and doing an RFQ (Request for Qualifications) for the design phase and blueprint planning phase of the proposed library. At that time I sent the request out to about six different engineering firms. Of those six we had three that responded,” Hammond said at last week’s meeting.

“One was The Wooten Company out of Raleigh, one was Darden J Eure & Associates out of New Bern, and the other was Oakley Callier (in Rocky Mount). Of those three, we’ve had experience with two of them: The Wooten Company, who built the current Police Station, and Oakley Callier, who built the Fire Station we’re in right now.” Hammond went on to say that all of the firms have built libraries and have also built municipal buildings in the past. They also have experience building USDA funded projects.

Due to North Carolina law, the firms cannot provide an actual cost associated with the work, but Hammond researched and came up with a rough figure.

“I wound up doing some digging around and talked with USDA and I talked to a couple engineering firms. Right now, the construction of a modern library is basically, about $135 per square foot,” he says.

With a 7,500 foot building, the cost comes to $1,012,500.

At the Sept. 9 meeting, Council voted unanimously to apply for a $50,000 US Department of Agriculture grant and for USDA-backed funding. The Ahoskie Library Committee has also been raising money through book sales and the annual pig cook-off held at Ahoskie Heritage Day. To date they have raised roughly $200,000. There have also been donations from the late Julian Robertson of Boyette and Robertson Insurance Agency.

It was decided that a group of two appointed council members, two members from the Library Board and the Town Manager will review the three construction firms and select one based on experience and RFQ’s submitted or have the three firms present to the group why they should take on the project. They will then report back to the Council with their recommendation at the July meeting.

Council member C. David Stackhouse nominated Councilwoman Elaine E. Myers for the position, saying, “This library is core to her heart.” Mayor Pro Tem Linda Blackburn nominated Councilman C. David Stackhouse. They were both approved by the Council.