FARMINGTON – Farmington Library Director Karen Roman recalled the conversation she had with then-library board member James Kellogg when she was hired in 2005.
At that time Kellogg told the newly-hired helm of the library of plans to build a new library facility in the future.
“He asked how I felt about that and I just honestly said, ‘I have absolutely no experience (in building new libraries), but I’m looking forward to that.’ And, here it is,” Roman said immediately following the groundbreaking ceremony on the location of the soon-to-be-built 23,000-square-foot facility.
The ceremony on Tuesday morning was attended by city employees and elected officials, library staff and board members past and present, community leaders and a number of citizens and library patrons.
Library Advisory Board President Nancy Bullis thanked those in attendance, saying it was an honor to be present at such an important event for the community. She expressed her thanks to the community who “made it possible for us to gather here today.”
Like Bullis, Roman was quick to credit the Farmington voters who, in November of last year, made the new facility possible by approving a one-half cent sales tax extension for various capital improvements by an overwhelming 77 percent.
The measure will generate an estimated $16 million during a 10-year period. Included in the proposed list of improvements was $6.1 million for a new library.
Less than 24 hours before the groundbreaking, the Farmington City Council approved the contract with Brockmiller Construction, Inc. to build the new library. The Farmington company’s bid came in at $4.8 million.
In addition to the cost of building the facility, the city estimated a cost of $450,000 for engineering and architect fees, plus an additional $450,000 for furnishings – at a total cost of around $5.7 million, or $400,000 below the $6.1 million anticipated price tag.
“We won’t have to take a second look and start thinking, ‘what are we going to leave out’ or ‘what are we not going to complete,’” Roman said, adding the floor plans provided to the community earlier this year will be “a go … and that’s wonderful.”
Mayor Stuart “Mit” Landrum said the land at the corner of Liberty and A Streets is “not just an empty lot. This is where thousands of people have come for help down through the years,” he said, noting the area was the location of Medical Arts Clinic for more than 60 years.
Generations of the Brockmiller family have constructed facilities on that corner. The original facility was built by Walter Brockmiller, the grandfather of Paul Brockmiller. Don – Walter’s son and Paul’s father – would go on the build the addition to the clinic.
“For Paul and his family, this is holy ground,” Landrum said.
The land for the library was donated to the city by Parkland Health Center-BJC Healthcare. In his speech, Landrum thanked those with the hospital for having the vision to see “they were investing yet one more time in the people they serve.”
Tom Karl, president of Parkland Health Center, was present at the groundbreaking with John Crouch, chairman of the Parkland Foundation and Katie Rhodes of the Parkland Healthcare Board of Directors.
Karl said the gift made by the company was “almost heaven-sent.”
“(The available land) was here – in the right place at the right time – for this project. It all came together perfectly,” Karl said. “We’re humbly glad to be a part of it.”
Landrum said just as generations used the clinic and the services it provided, the new library will serve in a similar capacity.
“At our library, we are striving to help each person who comes through the door to live their best life,” Landrum said.
Ward II Councilwoman Lynn Crites – and former director of the library – introduced the members of the city council, as well as past and present library board members in attendance.
Those members included Kellogg, Ed Pultz, Jettie Reese, Marlene Ragland, Sarah Haas, Gayla Mayhugh, Lettie Bishop, Susan Webb, Melissa Hopkins and Allyson Hensley.
Library employees Bonnie Coleman and Travis Trokey also participated in the groundbreaking ceremony. Rev. Jason Welker of First Baptist Church gave the invocation.
The mayor expressed his appreciation to Roman and the staff of the library and the board as the force who “brought out the votes, worked on the design and, more importantly, never stopped believing.” In addition, he thanked the council for “unwavering support of progress for Farmington.”
“Our library is proof that when all of us work together, great things can happen,” Landrum concluded.
Shawnna Robinson is the managing editor for the Farmington Press and a reporter for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-756-8927 or firstname.lastname@example.org.