Huntley library expansion plans move forward

  • Huntley Area Public Library District officials are working toward taking out a $12.9 million loan for the library's expansion. The library, which opened in 1999, gets crowded in its children's area, which now can accommodate only 12 people at a time.

    Huntley Area Public Library District officials are working toward taking out a $12.9 million loan for the library's expansion. The library, which opened in 1999, gets crowded in its children's area, which now can accommodate only 12 people at a time. Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Associate librarian and "Story Time Guru" Jodi Simmons reads to children at the Huntley Area Public Library, which has little room for children's programming. Voters recently approved the district borrowing roughly $12 million for a 17,000-square-foot addition and renovations to the existing library.

      Associate librarian and "Story Time Guru" Jodi Simmons reads to children at the Huntley Area Public Library, which has little room for children's programming. Voters recently approved the district borrowing roughly $12 million for a 17,000-square-foot addition and renovations to the existing library. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Huntley Area Public Library District will expand after voters this month authorized borrowing roughly $12 million. Construction of a new 17,000-square-foot addition is targeted for early 2020.

    Huntley Area Public Library District will expand after voters this month authorized borrowing roughly $12 million. Construction of a new 17,000-square-foot addition is targeted for early 2020. Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 4/10/2019 5:43 PM

Plans to expand the Huntley Area Public Library are moving forward after voters authorized borrowing roughly $12 million to double its size.

Officials are working to get a bond rating from Standard & Poor's and complete the legal paperwork for a $12.9 million bond issuance this summer. It will cover the cost of a roughly 17,000-square-foot addition for increased programming and renovations to the existing library, with contingencies built in so the project doesn't exceed the loan amount.

 

The bond will be repaid over 20 years with taxes collected specifically to cover the yearly principal and interest costs, Executive Director Frank Novak said.

"It is exciting," Novak said.

The current 15,000-square-foot library -- built in 1999 on roughly 10 acres for $2.4 million -- can accommodate only 12 people at a time in its children's area. Officials added three outside trailers in 2010, providing roughly 2,800 square feet of additional space for programming as a temporary fix. Meanwhile, the entire library is out of space with books stacked wherever there is room, officials said.

The addition will accommodate a permanent children's area, nonfiction and fiction stacks, programming and meeting rooms, and consolidation of office space. Demolition of existing mobile units and construction of the addition won't begin until early 2020. Grand opening is targeted for July/August of 2021, Novak said.

Officials also aim to strike a balance between books and technology with renovation of the current library, which does not have private computer labs, study rooms or work spaces for students. The renovation will include spaces where patrons can learn digital publishing, how to use Adobe Creative Cloud, Microsoft Office and QuickBooks, coding, augmented reality, virtual reality, green screen technology, and podcasting, and receive job training.

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"Being able to provide that to our public is a really important feature going forward," Novak said.

Huntley Area Public Library District started in a red brick house in rural Kane County. When the current library was built nearly 20 years ago, it served roughly 4,500 area residents. The district now serves roughly 40,000 people in Lake in the Hills, parts of Algonquin and Hampshire, and portions of Grafton, Coral and Rutland townships.

The library's current tax rate is .243 percent. With the bond issuance, homeowners would pay roughly an additional $25 per $100,000 of assessed value. The owner of an average house valued at $231,100 will pay an additional $57.32 yearly in property taxes to the district or a full property tax bill of roughly $230. The owner of a $300,000 house in the district will pay $75.85 more yearly or roughly $305 total on a full tax bill.

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