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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Indian Land's 'living room,' Within Reach

By Jenny Overman Fort Mill Times
(Published August 8, 2007)

Checking out the New York Times bestseller list, reading the current issue of Time Magazine and gathering with friends and neighbors at the community library isn't just an idea tossed around during board meetings anymore.
For Indian Land residents, it's nearly a reality.

In just a few weeks, the Lancaster County Library Board hopes to begin taking bids for the construction of the Del Webb Library at Indian Land.

At the library board's July 23 meeting, the board voted to go out for bids "as soon as is practical."

A few minor permitting and utility issues need to be resolved first, according to board Chairwoman and Indian Land resident Karen Paulson, but the board hopes to begin taking bids by the end of August or early September.

The board also approved a timeline for construction. It hopes to break ground on the Indian Land library around mid-September and opening the library's doors about a year after construction begins, in the fall 2008.

The library will be built on Hwy. 521 in the commercial development planned for Sun City Carolina Lakes. With no local library, Panhandle residents have to drive to Lancaster, Rock Hill or Fort Mill for books and services.

This library will be more than just a place that holds books, Paulson said. It will be a community asset.

"I characterize the Indian Land library as being Indian Land's living room," Paulson said. "I've been so excited because this library is our community gathering place. This is where people can come and sit down with their favorite book and a newspaper and a cup of coffee and just read and enjoy the people around them."

Del Webb, the developers of Sun City, contributed 2 acres for the library and $1.5 million for construction. More than $300,000 has been raised for the furnishings and books for the new library, which brings the fund $442,000 short of its goal.

The shortfall could mean that the library opens with fewer books than the board had planned, Paulson said.

When complete, the library will be just over 11,000 square feet and capable of holding between 40,000 and 50,000 books.

The next library fundraiser will be the Fall into Fun festival scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 29, at Sun City. In addition to the food, games and vendors featured at last year's festival, this year's festival will include a 5K run sponsored by Crossroads Lutheran Church.

The Indian Land library has been a project of the county's for more than four years. When Paulson joined the library board in 2004, she hoped to be part of the planning for an Indian Land library. Three years later, Paulson said, she feels like a new homeowner preparing to build her first home.

And like a new homeowner, Paulson has a few lingering concerns about the library's finances.

Some of the money pledged for the Indian Land library won't actually be donated for several years.

For example, the developers of Bretagne, a gated community off Barberville Road, pledged $100,000 to the library. That money won't be donated for two years, as stipulated in the agreement between Bretagne and the county.

"The board is going to have to explore the possibility of borrowing against our pledges just to open," Paulson said.

Paulson is also worried about paying salaries for employees for the new library. Eventually, the library board expects the Indian Land library to need three full-time and three part-time employees, she said.

No funding was allocated for the Indian Land library in Lancaster County's 2007-2008 budget, but County Librarian Richard Band said he is working with the county council on library funding for the 2008-2009 budget.

"We couldn't ask for money for staff because we won't be opening until fall of 2008, but I will be communicating with the council how much staff and operating cost will be needed between now and the opening," Band said. "It'll be interesting because I know money is always tight."

Thursday, August 02, 2007

IL Library Draws Closer to Reality

Officials hope to be receiving bids next month
By Jenny Hartley, Carolina Gateway

The permitting process has begun for the new Del Webb Library at Indian Land. Lancaster County Library Director Richard Band hopes the permitting process will be far enough along by late August or early September for the county to take bids on the project. Permits have to be obtained from S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, S.C. Department of Transportation and Lancaster County Water and Sewer District for construction.

The library will be built along U.S. 521 in the commercial development of Sun City Carolina
Lakes, called Carolina Commons. The Lancaster County Library Board met with Danny Shelley,
architect for the project on July 23. The library board unanimously approved a motion to put the project out to bid “as soon as practical.” Bids have to be advertised for 30 days, and construction bids are typically good for 60 days, as construction prices go up and down often.
Library plans Shelley went over plans for the library board during the meeting.

There will be a covered entrance to the building that enters into a lobby with a 17-foot ceiling.
Twenty spaces in the parking lot will be golf-cart only to accommodate Sun City residents,
with 46 regular car spaces and two handicapped spaces. The public meeting room and
restrooms will be accessible even after the rest of the library is closed for the day, giving
Indian Land a much-needed public meeting place.

An outdoor reading court will be a feature the other two libraries in Lancaster County don’t
have. There will be children and adult sections, a Friends of the Library gift shop, an area to
showcase Indian Land’s history, study rooms, offices, a conference room, new book area and
public access computers for adults and children. The adult section will have a cathedral ceiling.
Shelley said the angle and shape of the architecture of the building is very reminiscent of an arrowhead. “It is Indian Land, so I thought that was very appropriate,” Shelley said. “I’m real excited and I think the public will like it because you walk in and it’s not just flat ceilings.”

Library board chairwoman Karen Paulson said the look to the new library is similar to the
new Indian Land High School. Books to cost $225,000 The construction and furnishing
cost of the library is $2.2 million. Del Webb, the company developing Sun City Carolina
Lakes, contributed 2 acres and $1.5 million to construction costs. The library has received
pledges from individuals, developers, local businesses like Springs Memorial Hospital and
Founders Federal Credit Union and a $100,000 grant from the J. Marion Sims Foundation.
Lancaster County Library Director Richard Band said it will take about $225,000 to get
the library stocked with a third of its capacity in books for its opening. That’s about 12,500
books. “Actual funds on hand and our ability to process that many books could reduce this number significantly,” Band said. “Furniture, shelving and equipment is another $200,000. Assuming the Del Webb $1.5 million and funds raised so far pay for construction, we still have all of that to raise.” At full capacity, the library would hold about 40,000 books – 25,000 for adults and 15,000 for children. But the library won’t open at full capacity because it will need room for
the collection to expand.

Another festival fundraiser, Fall into Fun, is being planned for Sept. 29. The festival is sponsored by Sun City Carolina Lakes, Carolina Gateway and the Indian Land Rotary Club. Last year’s festival raised about $10,000 for the library, and this year’s festival organizers hope to
raise at least $20,000.