Posted: 9:53 p.m. Friday, June 13, 2014

Government Spending

Combined arts center, library possible in Kettering

Kettering, Dayton Metro Library say both sides would benefit.


Combined arts center, library possible in Kettering photo
The City of Kettering has leased the Rosewood Arts Centre from Kettering City Schools since 1985 for $1 a year, officials said. DREW SIMON/STAFF
Combined arts center, library possible in Kettering photo
The Wilmington-Stroop branch of Dayton Metro Library is one of two branches located in Kettering. The second branch is located on Far Hills Avenue. DREW SIMON/STAFF

By Drew Simon

Staff Writer


The city of Kettering and Dayton Metro Library could consolidate the Rosewood Arts Centre and the Wilmington-Stroop branch into a single facility as part of the library’s $187 million system-wide building project.

Kettering would fund its portion of the construction from current reserves, and no additional costs would be passed to residents, said Mary Beth Thaman, director of parks, recreation and cultural arts for Kettering.

The proposed project would combine the programs Rosewood offers at its current location on Olson Drive with the services Dayton Metro provides at its Kettering branch on Wilmington Pike.

“Our goal all along was to build one building with a combined program,” Thaman said. “Just imagine if you had one building like that in Kettering. You would be able to take a pottery class and, at the same time, you’d be able to find literature to support your pottery class.”

Dayton Metro has allocated $9 million to the project, according to library Director Timothy Kambitsch. It was not immediately known how much Kettering would spend on the project from its reserve funds.

Some residents are concerned that moving Rosewood’s programs will create a disconnect within the community.

“(If you) move all of that arts activity, after-school stuff for the kids and bring them here, what are they going to do build a whole new playground,” said Rob Siefker outside the Wilmington-Stroop branch Friday. “They’re so close to the rec center and the park. They’ve got the ball diamonds, the water park, the ice skating rink. Everything’s already over there.”

Don Keltner has lived near the Kettering Rec Center for 35 years and said the idea of consolidating the two existing facilities is a good idea.

“We moved to Kettering years ago because of the programs and the availability of good schools and recreation,” Keltner said.

The project would require demolition of the current Wilmington-Stroop building before construction could commence on a new two-story building, Kambitsch said.

“You wouldn’t have to drive to two buildings,” Thaman said. “You would get an enhanced value and enhanced experience.”

The new facility, if approved by Kettering elected officials, would be approximately 47,000 square feet and could save the library and city a combined $2.9 million in capital costs, according to Thaman. Those savings would come to the city and library by avoiding necessary improvements to infrastructure at Rosewood and the existing library branch.

A survey offered to 2,740 households in Kettering last summer revealed 89 percent of the 437 responding households were satisfied with the visual and performing arts opportunities in the city. Satisfaction with public libraries in the city of Kettering was 91 percent.

Respondents said the main benefit of a joint library and arts center would be to enhance existing library and arts programs. Other benefits residents saw were the ability to improve the quality of both facilities and create new opportunities for new library and arts programs, according to survey data.

Dayton Metro’s $187 million systemwide building project involves consolidating branches from 20 to 16. Eleven new branches will be constructed and five will be renovated. The construction projects have been broken down into four phases with total completion expected in 2017.

The new Kettering facility, Kambitsch said, would be a part of the library’s fourth phase. The project depends on approval from Kettering City Council.


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