KING WILLIAM — King William County is seeking the services of an architect to work on a potential new library in the north end of the fast-growing county.
The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Feb. 13 to issue a request for proposals to engage an architect to draw up specifications for a new library.
Although board members have not decided to build a new library or cost the project, they are dissatisfied with the rented building used as a library in the Central Garage area. The board recently agreed to contribute up to $300,000 toward a larger library that would be built in a shopping center in West Point. The town council is also funding the project.
County Administrator Percy Ashcraft alluded to last year’s stand-off with the Pamunkey Regional Library system that runs both libraries. The King William Board of Supervisors balked at finding an additional $129,000 but backed down days before the regional library system was due to slash opening hours by 70% at the Upper King William branch and West Point Library.
“Our relationship with Pamunkey Regional Library system has been longstanding, but there have been a number of questions raised since those budget discussions about the functionality of both libraries that exist in the county,” Ashcraft told the board.
Ashcraft said an architect’s study would be a “first step” to a new library in the Central Garage area.
He said the county agreed on a property swap that will give it three acres of land along Route 30 as part of a proposed 55-plus housing subdivision that will come before the board at the end of the month.
“This feels like a good time for you to have discussions about retaining an architect that would provide a full scope of services to give you all the options that you would need to make a good decision as to whether you want to invest in a library,” Ashcraft said.
Ashcraft said the architect would help the board to gauge the size and potential costs of a new library as well as its likely usage.
He said funding for the architect would be derived from the proffers fund, and no general fund dollars would be spent.
Ashcraft recognized the ongoing discussion whether the county would run its own libraries or continue to use the Pamunkey Regional Library system will continue. He said there has already been a “good public debate” about expenditure and what the county pays toward a library.
“The present location, we know, is undersized for what we think a growing population needs to have,” Ashcraft said.
The present building is leased by the Pamunkey Regional Library via its appropriation from the county. “I think the bigger question with the library is will it serve more than one purpose?” Ashcraft told the board. He alluded to a concern about a lack of meeting places in the area.
“I think it’s needed, it’s warranted … we need to know what it’s going to take if we say we do want to build another building,” said Supervisor Travis Moskalski.
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