Springboro Library plans expansion after council land deal

Springboro library hopes $3.5 million expansion will be complete in spring 2023

Springboro City Council agreed to relinquish its 50% stake in the Springboro Public Library so that the library board can proceed to expand that facility.

City Manager Chris Pozzuto said the Franklin-Springboro Library Board needed to have a free and clear title to the building located at 125 Park Drive so that it could obtain financing for the expansion project.

Martha Bush, Franklin-Springboro Public Library director, said the library board’s building committee has worked closely with the criteria architectural firm SHP to design a preliminary 4,500 square-foot addition to the current 9,000 square-foot building.

“We are very excited about the expansion project,” she said.

She said the building committee is evaluating a shortlist of design-build firms to finalize and construct the design plans. The estimated cost of the expansion project is $3.5 million, Bush said. While no contract has been signed with a design/build company, she said the hope is to have the project completed in spring 2023.

“The expansion was long overdue,” Bush said. “The Springboro branch was built in 1989 to meet the needs of the community at that time. Over the past 33 years, the Springboro community has experienced a lot of commercial development and with that, a great deal of population growth. Springboro’s population has far exceeded the scope of what the Springboro Library was built to facilitate.”

Bush said the library has been saving in a building fund for more than 20 years to afford this project, which means that there will not be an additional levy or bond issue on the ballot.

“The library will make every effort possible to stay open during the construction process,” she said. “Because the project includes renovating the current building, as well as expanding, there will be service disruptions and delays. We are excited at how this project will benefit the community now and for years to come.”

When the expansion is completed, Bush said the Springboro Library will be repurposing some existing areas for better service and utilization.

“The branch hosts an average of 40 programs a month and provides free meeting space to the community, so most of the new square footage will be devoted to including a larger meeting room for big groups and programs, a conference room, and four study rooms,” she said.

The addition of a “maker space” will allow the library to offer a creative space with new services, which they are developing based on input from a community survey, Bush said. The children’s area will double in size and the library will be able to offer a larger kids collection.

Although the Springboro Library is expanding, there are no plans to expand its sister Franklin Library. The Franklin Library expanded to 23,000 square feet with the new building in 2002. After that project was complete, the library system began saving to expand the 9,000 square-foot Springboro Library.

Bush said systemwide, the two libraries average about 193,000 visitors a year, with Springboro having around 89,000 visitors. She said the system also serves many homebound patrons and digital users who do not frequent the library buildings.

Springboro Council approved donating its ownership of the library building in exchange for a permanent parking easement as well as the right of first refusal for the building if the library system should close the building in the future, at no cost to the city.

Pozzuto said the agreement with the library board also includes a provision that the library would begin to cover its own maintenance costs of $30,000 to $35,000, which have been provided by the city. He said that funding could be used elsewhere in the city.

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