The Huntley Area Library Board wants to sell $12.9 million in twenty year bonds to renovate and expand the library.
They also plan to spend $400,000 they have on hand for the project.
The existing library is 17,000 square feet.
The proposed reconfiguration is an estimated 31,800 square feet.
The bond issuance would require a referendum.
If you divide $13.3 million by 31,800 square feet, the total cost is $418 per square foot, and less than half of that is new build.
Commercial construction costs about $125 per square foot while renovation is often half of that.
No explanation has been given by the District as to why the cost is so high.
According to the resolution for the project, the library district has determined that the existing 17,000-square-foot building is “inadequate to meet the projected needs of the district”.
Figures from the Library District show that
- utilization of the building reached its maximum in 2012 and has declined 30% since then
- the number of card holders has declined by 23% from the maximum, and
- check-outs have declined by 23%
In 2017, almost 30% of the physical items checked out of the library were DVDs.
DVD circulation has declined 35% from the peak in 2013.
No explanation has been given by the District about why they need a new library twice as big as the existing library when utilization is down dramatically with no reason to expect the trend to stop.
A public meeting of the board to discuss the financing of the project is set for 5:00 p.m. on January 10, 2019.
At that meeting, the board is is also scheduled to vote on whether to put the bonds for the referendum on the ballot for the consolidated election in April.