One question we often hear at Christian County Library – in person at library branches, in response to our recent community survey, and when our staff is representing the library at community events – is, “When are you going to build branches in Sparta and Clever?” Christian County voters approved a tax levy renewal for the library in August 2017 to fund a library branch in Nixa, renovations to the existing branch in Ozark, and the construction of new branches in Sparta and Clever to serve the eastern and western portions of the county.
The library has accomplished half of those promises, and the Nixa Branch Library celebrated its first anniversary in May 2019. August 2019 marked one year since the completion of major renovations at the Ozark Branch Library. That year has allowed the library district to analyze the costs of operating the expanded district and create an updated strategic plan to ensure continued growth of facilities and services is thoughtful and community-driven. Christian County Library is pleased to announce that the Library Board of Trustees has now approved a funding plan for Sparta and Clever branches.
The library district already owns the land on which the Sparta and Clever branches will be constructed, and has nearly complete architectural plans for both branches. Since those plans were initially created more than ten years ago, the district’s first step will be to work with Sapp Design Architects to re-visit branch designs and ensure they meet the current needs of the library and community. That process has already begun. The design review phase is expected to wrap up in early 2020, when the library will seek bids on the two construction projects.
The exact timeline for the construction of each branch will depend on whether bids indicate it is most cost-effective to build the two branches together, or to build them one after the other. Either way, construction is projected to begin on at least one of the branches in the spring of 2020. Each branch is estimated to take 10 to 12 months to complete. If the branches are built together, both may be up and running by the summer of 2021. If they are built sequentially, then both will likely be open by spring of 2022.
“We are so pleased to be able to offer the public a timeline for the final phase of this expansion,” said library Executive Director Geri Godber. “In the meantime, we hope folks will continue to stay tuned in to our progress. We hope the community makes use of our existing branch in Clever as well as our community partner resources in the eastern and western parts of the county, like our storytimes at the the Sparta Fire Station and Billings City Library, and pick up and drop off of library materials at Sparta Town and Country Grocery and the Billings Library.”
For more information, contact Christian County Library Executive Director Geri Godber at (417)724-6100. Library cards are free to all Christian County residents.