Expansion Plans: Frequently Asked Questions

Why does the Library need to expand?

The Library’s space has reached capacity for its books and materials collection, as well as for spaces for the needs of youth and families, students, working adults and groups. Since the existing building was constructed in 2005, the population in the Library’s service area has grown by 3% per year on average. Library checkouts, event attendance, annual visits and space use continue to increase and be in demand. Feedback from users include requests for more books, services, events and spaces for community use.

What is the cost and funding plan?

The total construction cost for the proposed expansion is $4.5 million, which includes the cost of operating a leased space for library services during construction as well as complete upgrades to HVAC and electrical systems. In addition to the second floor, the main floor will undergo a reconfiguration and update. The cost reflects approximately 9,000 sq. ft. plus lease space costs.

The Library’s goal is to minimize the ask from property owners by securing multiple grants and using the Library’s capital reserves. The remaining costs of increased operating expenses and construction debt repayment results in a ballot issue request for an increase of 1.2 in the Library’s mill rate. Once long-term debt is resolved, the Library will have the ability to restore reserves and address the growth for future generations.

What other options have been considered?

Our architects were originally tasked with researching expansion and reconfiguration options for the first floor, which are limited by lot capacity and prohibitive in cost ($500,000 for the addition of 300 sq ft).  We also scoped the cost of building new at a larger lot within town limits, which is estimated at $12 – 14 million. Utilizing the option of adding a second floor, which was thoughtfully included in the foundation plans of the existing building, is the best use of taxpayer funds.

Why now?

We are at capacity and lack space to build our collections of books, host families and development areas for youth, as well as serve the seating, study, and meeting spaces that are highly utilized by our guests. The only way to meet and keep up with demand is to add space. Each year the Library postpones an expansion adds an estimated 5 to 6% in construction costs (~$250,000 per year). Rising costs for supplies, wages, and operations already strain our revenue budget; the library will not be able to fund an expansion through revenue savings unless it dramatically cuts operations for many years. Additionally, the facility’s HVAC requires replacements within three years; our intent is to move to renewable and low emission systems and capitalize on federal and local incentives.  Timing of solar array installation with the addition of a second floor is ideal and cost saving.

Will the Library have to close during construction? 

Yes, but we will seek a lease space to maintain services. Construction is anticipated at 8 months.

What services/resources will be available during construction?

Our goal is to maintain a scaled down version of our regular services: Books, interlibrary loan, computers, printing/scanning, tech help, Wi-Fi, and classes and events, which may need to be held at other sites.

When would construction happen? 2026

What about parking?

Parking continues to be a challenge. Initial analysis of the parking lot show the possibility to reconfigure to add spaces. The library will also seek cooperation from adjacent businesses to seek an agreement for overflow parking. The designation of 2-hour parking spaces and signage to better direct RV parking in front of the Library in 2022 has helped. We will continue to work with the Town on solutions.

How is the Library funded?

The Buena Vista Public Library is a Colorado Special District, a subdivision of the State Government, officially designated as the Northern Chaffee County Library District. The Library is mainly funded through property tax mill levy collected from all residents in its service area (the same boundaries as the R31 School District, north and south from Centerville to Clear Creek Reservoir and east and west from Trout Creek Pass to the Continental Divide). Our 2023 operating budget is $857,399.

What happens if the Library doesn’t get funding for the expansion?

The Library’s limited space will continue to strain its ability to serve the population growth and demand for resources and services. The problems will be pushed downstream at a potentially higher cost to taxpayers and at the expense of cuts to current services in order to save revenues for the needed construction. Possible outcomes include reduced number of events for all ages, reduced public seating and workspace to accommodate book collection growth, reduced number of public computers, reduced staff services, and reduced hours. Property taxpayers will be asked again in the future for an increase;  the library cannot fund the increased operating costs of an expansion without additional funding. The population is expected to grow 3% per year, increasing demand on space, books, event offerings and attendance, and services. A larger library is essential to accommodate current levels of services into the future.

What is the history of the Library’s funding?

Prior to 1974, Library was part of the Town of Buena Vista, funded through sales tax

1974 Successful Ballot Initiative created the Northern Chaffee County Library District (converting the Buena Vista Public Library from a Town entity to a special district) and established a 1.5 Mill.

1995 Successful Ballot Initiative increased the Library’s Mill Levy to 2.5 Mill.

How will my taxes be impacted?

If voters approve a 1.2 mill levy increase in November, 2023, residential property owners can expect an estimated $8.16 increase per $100,000 in valuation. Example: A property valued at $600,000 would pay an additional $48 per year. Use the calculator below to determine impact.

Original Buena Vista Library next to Town Lake
Library building in 1971
Tear down of former library in 2005
Library building in 2006
Proposed 1st floor reconfiguration
Proposed second floor layout
Round design

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