Groundbreaking nears for new Lake Villa District Library
Plans for a new $25 million Lake Villa District Library have received key approvals to proceed.
The Lindenhurst village board recently approved site and architectural plans for the building to be constructed at 38110 N. Munn Road, about a mile from its longtime location on Grand Avenue and Deep Lake Road.
"The village board approval was a pivotal step in the process," said library board President Tony Gundrum.
Landscaping and final engineering for the site on Crooked Lake were part of the approvals. Libraries are considered a special use under Lindenhurst codes, Village Administrator Matt Formica said.
"The permit is actually being reviewed now. They will be able to start moving dirt and begin the process of building the building," he said.
The library district serves about 40,000 residents of Lake Villa, Lindenhurst and parts of Round Lake Heights, Round Lake Beach and Antioch, but that population is expected to increase 25 percent by 2040.
And as the way people use libraries has evolved, more room for seating, collaborative space, programs, quiet study and gathering areas has become necessary, library officials say.
In 1980, the library opened at the current location with a 10,000-square-foot building on 5 acres. Voters rejected a tax increase to expand to 45,000 square feet, but an expansion to 30,000 square feet was approved and opened in 1998.
Space again is an issue. In 2013, the district commissioned a needs assessment and then hired an architect to assist with building and site evaluations.
Last June, the district bought 29 acres on Crooked Lake for $2.5 million.
Because of wetlands, only 12 acres are buildable, but the site was selected as being the most flexible for the future.
Since 1989, the district has been setting aside money in a capital fund and has more than $18 million available. The difference between that amount and the final cost will be funded by the sale of the existing property and borrowing.
In early April, the district received a boost with a $125,000 Live and Learn Construction Grant from the Illinois State Library, a division of the secretary of state's office.
"We are a fortunate library district to be able to fund a new building without a tax increase yet to receive additional funding to invest in the project is ideal," Gundrum said at the time.
The new library building will be twice the size of the current one. The latest technology, more meeting and collaborative spaces, and an area with technology and materials geared for students in grades 7-12 will be among the amenities.
Construction will begin sometime this summer and will take approximately 15 months.