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New Library in Fenton Could Happen if St. Louis County OKs Prop L

A new Meramec Valley Branch library building would replace the current small rented space.

St. Louis County Library Board of Trustees commissioned Aaron Cohen Associates Ltd. to develop the library's facilities master plan. What emerged in February was a 10-year program of major improvements, new library construction and program enhancements that would modernize the library system in what Aaron Cohen Associates calls a "bold vision for the future."  The vision includes a priority list of recommended construction projects to be completed in the next ten years at a potential cost of $108.4 million

The master plan proposes $76.9 million in construction of new libraries, $12.7 million in existing building renovations and another $9 million in upgrades.

In the South County and Fenton areas, new library buildings are recommended  to replace the existing the Tesson Ferry Branch library, 9920 Lin Ferry Drive., and the Meramec Valley Branch, 625 New Smizer Mill Rd., Fenton. A variety of upgrades are proposed for the Cliff Cave Branch library in Oakville.

Implementing the library system's "new vision" would be paid for with funds generated by Proposition L, a proposed 6-cent per $100 assessed valuation tax increase up for approval by voters on the Nov. 4 ballot. It's the first time since 1983 the library board has asked voters to approve a tax increase. It says homeowners with a $200,000 home would pay $23 yearly in additional library taxes if Prop L passes.

If the tax increase measure is approved, library patrons in Affton area and nearby communities could expect a replacement of the existing 50-year-old Tesson Ferry Branch library building.The library master plan indicates there are many problems at the current Tesson Ferry Branch building including deterioration of the building structure, failure of mechanical systems, multiple sinkholes on the property and inadequate and inefficient parking.

The master plan recommends a new Tesson Ferry Branch library building of 40,000 sq. ft. be built on a new site. A new lot a minimum of 200,000 sq. ft. and/or five acres would be required. A new Tesson Ferry Library building, and the land to build it on, is estimated to cost $20 million.

In Fenton, the library master plan also recommends a new building of 15,000 square feet for the Meramec Valley Branch, which currently is housed in space it rents from the City of Fenton. A new location site would need to be 140,000 sq. ft. or 3.5 acres in size, according to the master plan. The new library building, including land costs, is expected to cost $7.9 million.

Major renovation of the Cliff Cave Branch at 5430 Telegraph Rd., in Oakville, are being recommended in the library master plan, including enhancements to children’s, teen and adult spaces. In addition, building improvements would consist of additional seating, collaborative spaces and upgrades to furniture and finishes.

The Cliff Cave Branch at 18,940 square feet, was built in 1980 and has been upgraded four times. The Cliff Cave Branch improvements are estimated to cost $1 million.

Read the full report on the St. Louis County Library Board's 10-year improvement plan on its website at http://www.slcl.org/sites/default/files/shared-files/FacilitiesMasterPlan2012.pdf

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