By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Lee County Library officials have ruled out expanding the current facility and scaled back their wish list to curb costs on building anew.
At a recent meeting, the library’s building committee voted to construct a new facility in the Fairpark District. Committee chairperson Glenda Segars said members selected a site but declined to identify it publicly until they approach the landowner.
It will cost an estimated $680,000 to purchase the land, said library Director Jeff Tomlinson. That’s potentially less expensive than buying land around the current facility, on the corner of Jefferson and Madison streets.
That’s because officials would have to negotiate with some 20 different landowners whose properties border the existing site.
“We could go to one of those sites at Fairpark much cheaper,” Segars said.
Another factor steering the committee toward a new facility was temporary housing. If the library renovated and expanding its current site, it would have to temporarily relocate.
The current library has 38,000 square feet on two acres, but a national consultant hired last year said it needs at least 91,000 on six acres to accommodate the roughly 800 people who use the facility each day.
Segars said the committee has scaled back on that footprint to save money. Its architectural team, headed by The McCarty Company, will develop site plans based on the new figures.
The projected cost for the new building has not been made public, and funding sources must still be secured.