Officials excited about building's progress
Members of Friends of the Library and city officials are excited about architectural plans to expand the Orland Free Library.
They took a look at the drawings last week and are prepared to make the expansion closer to 900 square feet, according to City Manager Pete Carr.
The Chico firm Nichols-Melburg and Rossetto was hired to do the plans, Carr said, and presented drawings for a new community meeting or conference room and two handicapped accessible restrooms.
This expansion will use a custom-made prefabricated building on a permanent foundation that will connect to the existing library through a hallway with natural lighting.
There also will be a landscaped, partially covered patio area on the east side, Carr said.
Originally, the city wanted to expand the library by 800 square-feet, but now the idea is to make it closer to 900 so up to 40 people can use the meeting room, officials said.
Carr added there should be minimal disruption to the Library Park grounds so no trees have to go.
However, the concrete walkway through the park will have to be modified slightly, he said.
"One benefit to building off site is the fabrication company will do the rest of the design and engineering work," Carr said, saving the city and Friends group money and allowing the project to stay on budget.
He said the plan is to cut the red ribbon in June.
Another benefit is there will be a door separating the meeting room from the rest of the library, so community groups could use it when the library is closed, Carr said.
The budget of $120,000 is to be split 50-50 between the city and the Friends' building fund, he said.
Carr intends to seek requests from contractors to manage the project soon and to see where the bids come.
Orland's share of the money comes from library impact fees, he added, not the city's general fund or other services.
This money can only be spent on library building improvements, Carr said.
He also said Friends group representatives indicated they might add more money to the project if necessary.
Expansion of the children's reading and activity area is gone from the project, so it will be left as it is now.
City Librarian Jody Meza is excited about the project as well.
"It is something we have been talking about for more than 20 years," Meza said.
The library's square footage has been inadequate for the user population and its activities for many years, she said.
Once the conference room is completed, there will be room for literacy classes and other activities without having to hold them in the middle of the library, Meza added.
"We get calls to book our meeting room all of the time," she said. However, the library does not have one — unlike most libraries around the North State.
People usually are referred to City Hall to book the Carnegie Center, Meza explained, but it is not always available either.
"This will allow us to provide a service we should have been providing all along," she said.
Friends of the Library President Gene Russell said the group is committed to the $60,000 it pledged from its building fund, and members indicated in a straw vote at its Nov. 1 meeting they might provide some more.
The group stopped putting money in its building fund a few years ago because there was no action to expand the library, Russell said, but now members believe they should start adding to it again.
"If we do not have the money on hand, we will do fundraisers to raise that money," he said.