Tuesday, December 12, 2017
News Roundup

Expansions, renovations coming to more Hillsborough County libraries

WESTCHASE — The Upper Tampa Bay Regional Library will nearly double in size after an expansion that is part of an approximately $8.2 million capital improvement project for four of Hillsborough County's public libraries.

The library, which is about 15,000 square feet, will expand by about 12,000 square feet and include a larger children's room, a larger community room and more seating, technology and activity space.

Jean Peters, chief librarian for the Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative, is excited to see the Upper Tampa Bay Regional Library expand. When the library was built in 2005, she said, it was designed with future expansion in mind.

"We knew at the time it was being built that eventually we would outgrow the current building," Peters said.

The expansion will cost $2,183,063 and is funded through property tax dollars through the Hillsborough County Capital Improvement Program.

Other projects include a 10,000 square-foot expansion to the Jimmy B. Keel Regional Library, which will cost $2,080,344 and will also include a larger children's room and community room. The Brandon Regional Library will see parking lot renovations by February, and the Seminole Heights Branch Library is being rebuilt.

The Bloomingdale Regional Library, which was approved under a different project for expansion in late 2010, will also expand by about 10,000 feet by the end of 2013.

"They're all very busy regional libraries, Peters said. "We just need more people space, more meeting space — just more room to have activities for our customers. We're going to be getting a larger children's room, which is really greatly needed at all three locations."

Carrie Vera, a patron of the Upper Tampa Bay Regional Library, looks forward to the expansion. "Sometimes there are hardly any tables or you have to wait two hours for a meeting room," she said.

Project manager Israel Grajales said most of the work will begin this month, when a temporary wall will be erected in the library's community room so an existing wall can be demolished and the expansion can begin. The second phase of the project will include minor renovations.

Lyla Varela, who visits the library almost every other week, mostly for children's books, said she thinks the expanded children's room will be "awesome." Currently, the children's room has a paper sign on its window that lists its maximum capacity at 27 people.

All library projects are expected to be complete by December.

"Because it's a renovation, we're trying to keep the library fully functional during the construction period and trying to minimize the impact on the library," Grajales said.

Though Peters said some shelving and furniture may be moved, the Upper Tampa Bay, Jimmy B. Keel and Bloomingdale libraries will remain open during construction.

"It may be a little dustier or noisier than usual, but we're going to do our best to keep our normal operations going," Peters said.

Comments
The Bucsí problem isnít how they finish; itís how they start

The Bucsí problem isnít how they finish; itís how they start

For the second straight week, the Buccaneers had the ball in the final minutes of a tie game.For the second straight week, they could not finish.As disappointing as that might be, they have a larger problem, and one that has existed all season: The B...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Career Q&A: Two bosses who donít care for each other

Career Q&A: Two bosses who donít care for each other

Q: I seem to be caught between two high-level managers who really donít like each other. One is a director, the other is a vice president, and I am an assistant to both. Whenever the director stops by my desk to chat, she makes critical remarks about...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
St. Pete losing two assistant police chiefs; one will join Rays

St. Pete losing two assistant police chiefs; one will join Rays

ST. PETERSBURG ó Two assistant police chiefs are stepping down next month, leaving two of the three second-in-command jobs vacant at the St. Petersburg Police Department.Assistant Chief Jim Previtera announced this week that he will resign from the d...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Winter meetings journal: Rays add more infield depth, claim it isnít prelude to a trade

LAKE BUENA VISTA ó The Rays on Tuesday adding their third infielder in the past two weeks would sure look like a precursor to trading front-liners such as 3B Evan Longoria or 2B Brad Miller.But GM Erik Neander insisted that was not the case and that ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Lottery resultsLottery numbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Tues., Dec. 12, midday:90 578 4984e_SRit30459Tues., Dec. 12, evening:85 659 2558e_SRit95745Fantasy 5Tue...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tax package would lower top tax rate for wealthy Americans

Tax package would lower top tax rate for wealthy Americans

WASHINGTON ó Congressional Republicans on Tuesday rushed toward a deal on a massive tax package that would reduce the top tax rate for wealthy Americans to 37 percent and slash the corporate rate to a level slightly higher than what businesses and co...
Updated: 1 hour ago
GMs-turned-pundits believe now may be the time for Rays to sell

GMs-turned-pundits believe now may be the time for Rays to sell

LAKE BUENA VISTA ó The Rays have been doing a lot of talking, making another small deal Tuesday while still working toward bigger ones of a still-being-determined degree.And there have been a lot of baseball people at the winter meetings talking abou...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Jewish heritage shines brightly

Jewish heritage shines brightly

Photos by EVE EDELHEIT | TimesMembers of Congregation Bínai Israel of St. Petersburg, above, celebrate lighting the largest menorah in St. Petersburg on Tuesday, the first evening of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. The festival celebrate...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Updated: 1 hour ago
Trump signs $700 billion military budget into law

Trump signs $700 billion military budget into law

WASHINGTON ó President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed into law a sweeping defense policy bill that authorizes a $700 billion budget for the military, including additional spending on missile defense programs to counter North Koreaís growing nuclear w...
Updated: 1 hour ago