Rock County Community Library Director Clint Wolthuizen explains the glass doors separating the children’s room from the rest of the library will be removed in a proposed $175,000 renovation project. Rock County Commissioners toured the facility before adding the project to their Capital Improvement Plan for 2015. Pictured from left are Ron Boyenga, Sherri Thompson, Wolthuizen, Jody Reisch, Ken Hoime and Stan Williamson.

Library to receive $175,000 in upgrades

Tax abatement public hearing set for May 5 to pay for work on library and county share of fiber optic

Improvements to the Rock County Community Library were unanimously supported by the Rock County Board of Commissioners and were added into the county’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for completion this year.

Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, the board toured the current library facility with library director Clint Wolthuizen who laid out the proposed $175,000 in facility improvements.

Wolthuizen assured commissioners the plan provides “practical and functional changes” to the local facility, and he said the changes are common improvements supported by the library board.

“Right now, we get by,” he said.

At the previous County Board meeting, Wolthuizen turned in his resignation effective next week. He will begin a new library job in Worthington. The new director will oversee the facility improvements along with the library board.

“They are common sense changes that should make their job easier,” Wolthuizen said. He added that the proposed improvements might make hiring a new director easier.

The library board hired an industry consultant to guide the local improvement process. The last facility improvement occurred in the late 1990s, Wolthuizen said.

Central to the plan is moving the current children’s library from the southwest corner of the building closer to the entrance for better supervision and safety of the children. The plan will also enlarge the children’s area.

Other changes will involve the teen book area and provide more privacy for public computer users.

After the library tour, commissioners conducted their regular monthly meeting that included a public hearing on the county’s proposed CIP.

The CIP is updated yearly with major county expenditures, including facility improvements or acquisition of equipment with a lifespan of more than five years.

With the added library facility improvements, the commissioners approved $12,376,933 in possible capital expenditures for this year.

No one from the public attended the hearing.

The commissioners are considering adding the library improvement costs to the upcoming $1 million abatement bond to finance the county’s share of the broadband fiber optic project.

The bond would be paid back over a period of two decades.

Currently, the amount of the abatement bond cannot exceed $1.31 million.

The public hearing for the proposed abatement bond will be at 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 5, in the Herreid Room of the Rock County Courthouse.

Comment Here