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Zephyrhills opts to build new library instead of expanding old one

ZEPHYRHILLS — The City Council has decided to build a new library rather than expand the existing facility after hearing an architect's report on the work needed to bring the 1960s building up to code.

The council had originally planned to double the size of the 4,200-square-foot facility on Eighth Street with a $1.5 million expansion covered by Penny for Pasco funds.

But that approach turned out to be more extensive than officials thought.

The current building would need a new roof; the concrete walls would have to be rebuilt to stabilize them; and all of the plumbing and electric would have to be redone, which would require breaking through the concrete slab, said Ward Friszolowski of Harvard Jolly Architects.

Friszolowski told the council on Monday evening that it would be more cost effective to construct a new building than improve and expand the present one. New construction will also avoid the possibility of running into unforeseen and pricey problems common with expansions, and allow for more architectural freedom in designing a new facility, he added.

City Manager Jim Drumm noted that $75,000 had been budgeted to rent a temporary location and move the collection to that site during the library expansion, then move the collection back when the work was finished. Building new will allow the library to remain open in its current location and only have to move once into the new facility, bringing substantial savings on that front.

The new building will go up on the north end of the current site, about a block north of Fifth Avenue, Friszolowski said, and the current budget should not be affected.

Drumm said the city has advertised for a construction manager, which should be selected in the next few weeks. Once that contract is in place, it will be easier to come up with a timeline for when the facility should be complete. Friszolowski said it could be October before ground is broken to begin construction.

Land swap hearing scheduled

The Zephyrhills City Council will have a special meeting at 6 p.m. Dec. 17 to discuss and vote on a land swap agreement with Acme Development Corp.

The city would get about 24 acres at the north end of the airport worth around $1 million, and the corporation would net a 10-acre piece of land off Eighth Street north of the post office valued at about $550,000. The difference in value will be considered a charitable donation to the city, Drumm told council members last month.

City Council member Lance Smith, who has consistently voted against the swap, said Monday he believes the council should give more thought and study to giving up the Eighth Street property, which is in a prime location and adjacent to the county's defunct Hercules Park. Council member Charlie Proctor favors the swap, noting the city will eventually need the airport land for a runway expansion.

Zephyrhills opts to build new library instead of expanding old one 12/11/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 8:57pm]
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