With plans to break ground this fall on the new $12 million Bainbridge library branch, construction is expected to take about a year on the 30,000-square-foot structure, according to Geauga County Public Library System Director Ed Worso.
The Geauga County Public Library board will be voting in August on the guaranteed maximum price and for the new construction projects, then everything will move ahead, Mr. Worso said. “All the drawings for the different projects will be done,” he said.
“It’s been an adventure,” he said. “We had a brief rest period,” he said of the Fourth of July holiday, “and now we hit the ground running.”
“The hope is to break ground in October,” Mr. Worso said. “It is our hope and plan that the existing building will be kept open during the construction period.”
Donley’s Inc. of Cleveland is the construction manager for the new Bainbridge Library as well as a new library being planned in Thompson Township.
It all starts with action by the design firm of CBLH and partner Perkin + Will, as well as Donley’s, the library committees and the ad hoc facilities committees, Mr. Worso said.
The construction costs from the construction manager will be guaranteed. “Then it will be up to the library board to vote on the guaranteed maximum price,” he said.
Talk of a new library began in 1999, he said, but the process didn’t kick off until August of 2016.
So far, the ground for the new library, adjacent to the existing building, has been cleared and most of the dirt leveled. Grass has been planted to help prevent erosion.
The new library is expected to be completed by November of 2020. “It will take a little more than a year if it goes well and according to plan,” Mr. Worso said.
The library has held information-gathering sessions with feedback from the community. Residents have voiced a need for both active and quiet spaces, including conference rooms and having access to computers, software, sound and video, printers and space for video conference. Those meetings are completed.
The plan calls for drive-up service for returning and picking up library materials. It also is expected to have outdoor space for children’s programs.
One of the many goals is to create an efficient building, Mr. Worso said, and that includes heating, electricity and staffing.
In an overview, the Bainbridge library is seen as an excellent and well-used community resource. The investment will improve the library to the level of service that will best meet the needs of the community in the 21st century, he said.
An increase in the community size has created a need for a larger library.
In a history of the Bainbridge Library, it was noted that the library initially was housed in a former store front space on East Washington Street. The current building was then opened in 1985 and was financed by an expensive lease purchase and only 10,000 square feet could be built.
By comparison, the Geauga West Library is 23,000 square feet and the Chardon Library is 16,000 square feet.
The new library will be located adjacent to the current building at the northwest corner of East Washington Street and Snyder Road. The goal of the larger library is to provide more meeting space, quiet study areas, more computers with internet and data files, a magazine reading area, more tables for study and more books and audio visual materials.
The new library will be triple the size of the current building that serves Bainbridge, Auburn, South Russell Village, part of Newbury and students at the nearby Kenston Local School District.
The acreage for the new building was purchased by the Geauga County Library System in 2014. There are problems with the current building, including the roof, windows and the heating and air-conditioning system, Mr. Worso said. Five years after the building was built, it sank because of the soils it stands on.
Voters in Geauga County approved a 0.5-mill bond issue in 2017 to pay for both the Bainbridge and Thompson projects as well as updates at other libraries in the county.