County creates budget to renovate old building

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) - The Independence County Quorum Court earlier this week approved a new building budget for the Independence County Library.

Instead of building the new library from the ground up, the county decided Monday to renovate a building on Main Street Batesville.

According to Independence County Judge Robert Griffin, it was in the hands of the County Library Board to make the decision on the new location.

He said they chose to do renovations on the Burnett Building.

The Burnett Building was built in 1903.

Vanessa Adams, director of the Independence County Library, said they chose the building because of the amount of space found inside fit their layout perfectly.

"We're going from 5,000 square feet to about 21,000 square feet," she said. "So, we're more than quadrupling our space. And, that will allow us to have a teen area, a genealogy department, more office space, and we'll also have a computer classroom. And we anticipate to have more rooms where people can relax and to read. "

Adams also said they plan to add a new coffee shop into the new library.

However, Griffin said the library's budget totals out to $2 million, which will cover furniture, accessories, architectural and professional services, and a parking lot.

Griffin said they're going to borrow the money from the library entity to help with renovations.

"We've discussed trying to build a new building, but the fact is, we would need $10 to $15 million to fund that," he said. "And, the current tax rate will not allow that to be a capitalized expense. So, the next better alternative to utilize that money and provide space for the people is to renovate something."

Griffin said they're currently working to remove the asbestos, followed by the renovations.

The library is expected to open late spring 2018.

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