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Wichita’s Proposed New Library, By The Numbers


UPDATE Feb. 2 at 1:18 p.m.: Wichita City Council signed off on the final design and construction budget for the “advanced learning library” by a vote of 5 to 2.

The Wichita City Council is scheduled to make a final decision Tuesday on whether a proposed advanced learning library will be built.

The current central library on South Main Street is 48 years old, and officials say it is not meeting the needs of its users.

The library project steering committee and the city’s design council approved plans for a new library in mid-January, one that is now being called an “advanced learning library.”

Library leaders say the 105,000-square-foot building will feature community engagement areas and innovation that will support multiple learning styles and needs for people of all ages.

In October, the project size and budget increased after the library received a $3 million gift from the Wallace Charitable Foundation. It will be used for future expansion of the Children’s and Research pavilions.

The cost estimate for the advanced learning library now stands at $36,690,000, which includes the land acquisition and charitable gift.

Library officials are asking City Council to amend the bonding resolution for the project. In 2007, City Council approved the original bonding resolution for $30,000,000. The following year, the land acquisition was approved. The cost of the property, together with legal fees, appraisals and other costs totaled $3,690,000. A gift from the Wallace Charitable Foundation increased the project scope by $3,000,000.

The new library would be built near the corner of 2nd Street and McLean.

If city council signs off on the plans and the project goes out to bid, construction will take about two years.

Projected operating costs for the new facility include personnel services increases of $465,780 for 11 new positions (eight full-time equivalent positions) to support the expanded children’s, teen, genealogy/local history, technology and community meeting services and programs.

Contractual expenses are expected to increase by $131,707 due in large part to more technology equipment, and the reassignment of all utility costs into the library budget.

The Wichita Public Library Foundation has initiated an $8,000,000 capital campaign for this project. These funds would offset a portion of the city’s spending for the project.


Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.

Deborah joined the news team at KMUW in September 2014 as a news reporter. She spent more than a dozen years working in news at both public and commercial radio and television stations in Ohio, West Virginia and Detroit, Michigan. Before relocating to Wichita in 2013, Deborah taught news and broadcasting classes at Tarrant County College in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area.