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Waccamaw Library: Budget’s tight, but pond at new site won’t cost extra

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

The new Waccamaw Neck library will have a pond.

Michael Walker of Tych Walker Architects told members of the Georgetown County Library Board last week that a geo-technical study has revealed that an area proposed for a dry pond to accommodate stormwater will become wet because of the shallow water table at the library site off Willbrook Boulevard. Walker is considering incorporating a path around the pond into the library’s landscaping.

The pond will serve as a catch basin for stormwater coming from Willbrook Boulevard, the Waccamaw Intermediate School and Brookgreen Gardens’ property to the north. “There is a reason this was the last undeveloped piece of property in the area,” Walker said.

He told board members that the interior design has changed to eliminate some doors, incorporate storage areas and provide more spaces with multiple uses. He is working on incorporating fish tanks into the interior and an herb garden outside. The new library will have 49 percent more book shelf space than the present facility on Library Lane. An auditorium will have room for 182 moveable seats.

Walker said the project is on such a tight budget that the building’s metal roof will have to be replaced with asphalt shingles without additional private funding. There are plans to raise that money through a program called “The 5 B’s.” It will provide bricks, bushes, books, bytes and benches. Another group, The Library Center – Waccamaw, has already raised $165,000 for the library’s technology.

“We are thinking through everything and asking what it costs,” Walker said. “We’re pushing the envelope real hard.”

Walker said he hopes to finish the drawings in three weeks and present them to state agencies and the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management for review. A pre-bid meeting is scheduled Aug. 20. Construction will take a year with opening day penciled in for Labor Day 2014. “Coinciding with the opening of school makes sense,” Walker said.

Library director Dwight McInvaill said additional staff could not be hired before July 1, 2014. That would allow two months for training, he said.

The county library system’s $1.3 million budget is on track for the fiscal year with 93.2 percent spent. Next year’s budget, McInvaill said, will be essentially unchanged except for a 5 percent employee pay raise. He expects to receive $15,000 more from the state next year. Funds from the state lottery remain uncertain, he told board members.

The board approved new summer hours as an experiment that could be extended through fall. Waccamaw branch hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. All branches will be closed Sundays until September when three hours will be added. Only nine of 46 libraries in the state have longer hours, board members were told.

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