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    Oldsmar in market for library location

    Officials must find a building site quickly to meet a deadline for state money to build the facility.

    By ED QUIOCO, Times Staff Writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published December 29, 2001

    OLDSMAR -- Officials recently learned how much it will cost to build a new library and how big it should be to accommodate growth.

    Now they have to decide where to put it.

    The city should expect to pay about $2.9-million to build an 18,200-square-foot facility, according to a preliminary report from Harvard, Jolly, Clees, Toppe Architects. The city hired the firm in August to design a new library.

    "We should make a statement with our library," Oldsmar Mayor Jerry Beverland said during a council meeting earlier this month. "I think you can judge a city by its library."

    The preliminary plans for the new library include a 1,600-square-foot cafe that would seat 28 and provide coffee, soft drinks and light breakfast and lunch items. The cafe also would "provide power and communications for use as a cyber cafe," the report says.

    The new library also would have a 1,100-square-foot, multipurpose meeting room that could seat 75 people, a 2,194-square-foot room for youth services, a children's story room and more than 20 computer work stations.

    The next step is for City Council members to decide on the new library's location, which is needed so the firm can apply for a state grant to help pay for the project.

    Council members are scheduled to discuss selecting a site next week. Their meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday in the City Council chambers, 100 State St. W. The deadline for the state grant application is April.

    "It is extremely important that the city choose a library site as soon as possible," the architects' report to the council said.

    Council members have discussed building the new library either on the 1.2-acre SouthTrust Bank property on State Street next to City Hall or on St. Petersburg Drive next to the arts center.

    At a meeting last week, council members David Tilki and Brian Michaels tried to schedule a workshop this month to discuss the possible locations before having to make the final decision in January. But the effort failed to get enough support.

    "This is a fairly major decision as to where it goes," Tilki said. "I really think it deserves more time than we would give it in a regular council meeting."

    - Staff writer Ed Quioco can be reached at (727) 445-4183 or

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