GTH library meeting set for Thursday

Nick Vlahos

The Germantown Hills branch of the Illinois Prairie District Public Library is cozy, to put it mildly.

"Basically, it's a two-bedroom house," library Director Grant Fredericksen said about the structure at 101 Warrior Way. "The community has outgrown it by quite a bit."

The library district would like to leave behind its 62-year-old starter home of 1,378 square feet and move into something larger and more modern. Fredericksen and others want to know if Germantown Hills-area residents concur.

The library board has scheduled a special public meeting for 7 p.m. Thursday at the Germantown Fire Protection District station. Representatives of the Dewberry architectural firm from Peoria are expected to attend and present a variety of potential building designs. A question-and-answer session also is planned for a project that has no timetable currently, Fredericksen said.

"What we're looking for is ideas," he said. "When we finalize the building program, we don't want people going, 'Oh, yuck, this is way too small' or 'Oh, yuck, this is way too big.'

"What we want to do is have a bigger library that better fits the population that we think will be served by that building."

The size of that building likely would be about 10,500 square feet, although it could change, Fredericksen said. At that square footage, construction costs could range from $1.9 million to $2.8 million, he said. That price doesn't include sewer and electrical hookups, landscaping and content.

During its regular meeting Tuesday, the library board approved a contract of almost $20,000 with Dewberry for preliminary design services and other introductory work.

The district owns land in Germantown Hills where a new structure could be built. That would be a first for the district, which also has facilities in Benson, Metamora, Roanoke, Spring Bay and Washburn.

"We've moved into different buildings and remodeled them; the board is very talented at that," Fredericksen said. "Building a new building is a different ball game."

Financing could come in various ways - fundraising, a mortgage or some sort of bond or tax referendum, Fredericksen said.

Most of the response Fredericksen has received about a new library building has been positive but limited and informal, he said. He would prefer a larger sample size Thursday night, although it appears he still prefers informality.

"I'm hoping people are going to come out in droves and say, 'Yes, yes, what can we do to help?' I'll say, 'Whip out your checkbooks and sign on the dotted line,' " Fredericksen said with a laugh.