Shoreview’s new library construction coming along ‘under budget & ahead of schedule’


According to officials, construction for Shoreview’s new library is on schedule. Some exterior windows and brick work are in place, and plans for the interior designs are in the works.

The Friends of the Ramsey County Libraries group is fundraising for various amenities for the interior of the new building.

Officials say construction of the new Ramsey County Public Library in Shoreview is moving along smoothly and costs are currently below estimates.

“It’s coming along great,” Ramsey County commissioner Blake Huffman said. “We had a great winter in terms of our ability to keep construction going, so it’s a little bit ahead of schedule right now, too.”

The frame of the building is already installed, he said, the exterior walls are up and some brick work and windows are in place. 

Though a grand opening date has not yet been set, Huffman said the library should be open to the public near the beginning of 2017. 

The total budget set for the new library was $15.8 million. However, Huffman said it’s due to good weather and efficient work that the final price tag is now projected to be less than expected. 

“I think we’re comfortable saying that it’s going to be completed under budget,” Huffman said. “The expenses have been good because of the nice weather and the construction crews have been doing such a great job.”

There are other reasons the costs have been offset, Huffman added.

In addition to the good fortune of a mild winter, he noted the sale of the current library building to the Mounds View Public Schools for $3.4 million has helped. 

Once the transition is complete, the old library will be the home to District 621’s administrative offices once staff move out of their current offices at Snail Lake Education Center in Shoreview.

Another reason the finances are the way they are is because the Friends of the Ramsey County Libraries group is fundraising for some of the projects, Huffman said. 

“Every library has the stuff the county pays for, and every library has those non-essentials — things our tax dollars don’t necessarily pay for,” he said, noting examples such as the children’s boat in the White Bear Lake branch library. 

One “non-essential” that is being installed in the new building will be a working fireplace, something Huffman admitted might not sound too appealing in the hot summer months, but “will be more than welcome in the winter,” he added.

A team from the Friends of the Ramsey County Libraries is currently choosing interior colors and fabrics, and the group is fundraising for amenities beyond the fireplace, such as early literacy materials for children, art, interactive technology, a media lab, exterior furnishings and additions to the opening-day collection.

These additions were recommended by the librarians, architects and residents to enhance the quality of the library experience for folks of all ages.

 

Jesse Poole can be reached at jpoole@lillienews.com or at 651-748-7815. Follow him at @JPooleNews.

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