- Associated Press - Friday, January 9, 2015

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Wichita city and public library officials are proceeding with plans to build a $30 million central library after a delay caused by financing concerns.

The library plan will be presented Tuesday to the Wichita City Council, which will be asked to authorize the design phase. The city would pay $27.5 million of the project, and the Wichita Public Library Foundation is hoping to raise another $5 million, The Wichita Eagle reported (https://bit.ly/1xYQ2Q4 ).

Construction on the library was originally planned to start this year, but was delayed when some council members questioned whether the city could afford the project.

Part of the city’s obligation will be paid with money that had been set aside to close a landfill, City Manager Robert Layton said. The state determined the city had overestimated the cost of closing the landfill, leaving a surplus of about $8 million.

The design is expected to be completed by November and if all goes as planned, construction could start as early as spring 2016. It would take up to two years to build the library, director Cynthia Berner said.

Library supporters are saying the new building will include the latest technology but specific decisions about what will be used are still pending. But Layton said the library would be a major upgrade from the current central library.

“We are not just trying to replicate and modernize what we have currently,” he said. “It is a game changer. It makes us a trendsetter and puts us on the front end of how we pass knowledge on to our children and grandchildren and how they will use that information to innovate.”


Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, https://www.kansas.com

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