LISBON Lepper Library works to get funding for renovation work

A decision on whether to start building this year is expected in a few weeks.
LISBON -- Lepper Library officials are certain that the building will be remodeled and enlarged. The question is when.
Contractors who submitted bids for the multimillion-dollar project in the spring have agreed to maintain the offers until Sept. 10.
The extension gives the library board time to decide whether to proceed with the renovation this year or put it off until next year, said Nancy Simpson, library director.
"We're still short, money-wise," Simpson said.
Construction alone is expected to cost about $2.8 million.
Furnishing the renovated structure and paying for miscellaneous expenses will add $500,000 to the cost, pushing the figure to about $3.3 million.
Over the past several years, the library has saved about $1.5 million for the project. Library officials predict that taking out a $1 million loan would be within the institution's means.
The loan would be paid back through the average $750,000 in state funding the library receives annually.
The loan plus the savings would still leave the library about $800,000 short of what it needs to complete the expansion and remodeling project, Simpson said.
Library officials are considering a fund-raising campaign to close the gap.
Right now they are trying to determine if they can secure enough donation pledges to warrant moving ahead with the project in the fall.
If there aren't enough contributors willing to commit ample funds toward the project right away, then it is likely to be put off, Simpson said.
Given the sour economy, officials are worried that potential contributors may be hesitant to give.
Decision to come
The library board expects to decide what to do by early September.
"We're still hopeful we can proceed" this year, Simpson said.
Work will take a year to 18 months to complete.
Plans call for constructing a nearly 12,000-square-foot addition on the east and north sides of the original 1897 structure at 303 E. Lincoln Way.
The addition will include more space for books, a garage for the library's bookmobile, a conference room, children's room and reference area.
Also planned is the razing of a nearly 2,000-square-foot addition installed on the library's north side in the 1960s.
The old addition isn't accessible to disabled people and has a leaky roof.

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