A few months ago, the Oregon Public Library’s capital campaign was in full swing, with a slew of fundraising events and donors wishing to support the construction of a new building.
But as COVID-19’s spread resulted in sweeping stay-at-home orders from the state and county, all that has slowed down.
The pandemic has also shifted the tone of the next joint Village and Library Board meeting.
Instead of the discussion focusing on new library design plans, it will be about extending fundraising deadlines into early 2021 amid the delays and “regaining momentum,” library director Jennifer Endres Way told the Observer.
The meeting will take place at 5 p.m. Monday, June 15, over Zoom video conferencing software as Village Hall, 117 Spring St., remains closed.
Trustee Randy Glysch, a veteran of fundraising for community projects, told the Observer he’s already been in talks with potential donors to gain that momentum again. Endres Way said virtual fundraisers might be the way to go for the foreseeable future.
Endres Way and Glysch concurred during a Friday, June 5, Zoom interview with the Observer that if it weren’t for the disease, the community likely would have reached its $4 million goal by now. The new library is projected to cost $10 million, and the Village of Oregon contributed $6 million to the project.
The capital campaign funds sit at $1.235 million as of June 5, Endres Way said.
“We continue to get gifts on a weekly basis,” she said.
She said before the joint June 15 meeting, Endres Way and staff will go before the new library steering committee and Library Board to gather feedback on a revised timeline. From there, she will bring that same timeline before the joint boards to set specific deadlines for when to revisit design plans. Those plans include options up to a projected $12 million, depending on the success of the fundraising.
“We aren’t going to make any additional modifications to the design until we know what we have for funds,” Endres Way said.
The conceptual design plan by OPD Architects is full of windows, with a first floor centered on an all-purpose, 150-seat community room and children’s space, and a second floor with quiet areas and adult and young adult sections.
The initial plan, which the firm put together in August 2019, is a 33,000 square feet building. If the $4 million fundraising goal isn’t reached, one of the options to save money might be shortening one end of the building. The building also could accommodate a 5,500 square foot addition to accommodate future growth.
Some key features include an area for children’s programming, a sensory room, an area for new mothers, a drive-thru book drop, a second-floor makerspace and several quiet, study and conference rooms.
Once design plans are finalized, the Library Board will be responsible for contracting final engineering and architectural work and deciding whether to retain a construction manager. Those will be funded by impact fees and the village’s borrowing.