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Architect compromises on library design cost

Library awaiting nonprofit formation to start design work by Garrett Fuller | May 17, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Democrat photo/Garrett Fuller — FILE — The "Library" sign is seen Sept. 26, 2022, at the Moniteau County Library at Wood Place in California.

Sapp Design Architects slashed its bid to design a new Moniteau County Library by $50,000.

The firm also extended a deadline to satisfy points of contention raised by the Moniteau County Library Board of Trustees in a previous meeting.

At its April 19 meeting, trustees were concerned after learning Sapp -- an architecture firm in Springfield and Kansas City chosen in March on merit after a showcase featuring two other firms -- would want $300,000 to design the library's new facility to be located at 209 S. Oak St. There was also some concern with the firm's original contract for providing services for 24 months before charging for additional services, especially with the ongoing U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development loan process.

Library Director Connie Beauchamp said Sapp negotiated its bid to $250,000, and extended the contract timeline to 36 months. Design costs would amount to 10 percent of the anticipated $2.4 million budget for the project.

Despite the news, the library will need to temporarily hold off on signing the architect's dotted line.

Beauchamp said the library is awaiting the creation of a separate nonprofit that will handle construction of the new facility. Travis Zimmerman, a USDA representative, told the board in January that a separate 501(c)(3) organization would need to be created for the loan, as the public body itself can't be indebted for long-term obligations without voter approval. The loan enables the library to construct the facility without the need for a bond measure.

The documents to create the nonprofit have been filed with the Missouri Secretary of State office, Beauchamp said. She said the process should be completed within two weeks, enabling the library to sign the contract and start working with architects. From there, she added, it could take as little as eight weeks for architects to complete a preliminary concept of the facility.

To enable the project to go from a concept to reality, fundraising must be done to start construction. USDA Rural Development requires any money put toward the loan principal to be applied at the time the loan is taken out, Zimmerman explained in January. Afterward, any additional funds on top of the library's annual loan payment would only shorten the term of the loan instead of decreasing the principal.

Beauchamp said library members, along with members of the Friends of the Moniteau County Library Services and Elia Paegelow Foundation boards, began brainstorming fundraising ideas May 10.

Other business

In other business at the trustees' May 10 meeting, Beauchamp provided an update on state aid and the library's upcoming summer reading program.

Beauchamp said the Missouri House of Representatives and Senate both voted to reinstate library funds in an appropriation bill, which is heading to Gov. Michael Parson's office. The library is expected to still receive $14,069.50 through state aid and equalization payments via the Missouri State Library. State funding for libraries was made uncertain earlier this spring when Rep. Cody Smith, R-Carthage, budget chair, wiped library state aid and equalization payments from an appropriation bill. The act was a retaliation for the Missouri Library Association joining an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against the state for a 2022 law banning sexually-explicit imagery in school library materials.

"It makes me feel sad that we had to go through that," Beauchamp said.

The library will start its "All Together Now" summer reading program May 22, Beauchamp said. She added classes from California Elementary School have been touring the library in preparation for the program, which will be a part of its summer school classes. The library will also be traveling to host the program at Jamestown C-I and High Point R-III summer school classes.

The Moniteau County Library Board of Trustees will next meet 10 a.m. June 21 on the second floor of the Moniteau County Library at Wood Place, 501 S. Oak St.

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