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Grandview, YVCC eye joint library

GRANDVIEW - Grandview is outgrowing its library and the YVCC campus in this city lacks a library.

So, the city and the college are proposing a two-for-one deal in which they would partner to build a new 12,000 square-foot library between the YVCC Grandview campus and the senior center.

During a city council study session last night, city and college officials met to hash out a timeline for obtaining the $4 million it's believed the library will cost.

City Administrator Scott Staples said a library partnership between a city and college would be unique in Washington state.

"This could be an exciting opportunity," Staples said of the proposal, which would double the size of the existing city library. "It's good for us and the college."

According to preliminary plans, the library would accommodate both college and city users, including a children's story corner and quiet study/computer areas that will be on opposite ends of the building.

Council last night expressed a commitment to retaining the city's existing library staff. Councilwoman Pam Horner noted that the city may actually be able to increase staff work hours and keep the library open more because of the city/college partnership.

Grandview librarian Linda Dunham said she would like to see the college bring on a librarian, as well, to ensure student research and curriculum needs are met.

There are other details to sort out, such as a parking plan that meets both college and library needs. Architect Sheri Brockway said she's planning to incorporate some green spaces as a sort of buffer between the buildings.

Also under consideration is utilizing the current library as a possible home for the senior center after 2039, when the current lease on the senior center property expires. YVCC owns the senior center property and, after 2039, has the option of using the current senior center site for additional space if it outgrows the current campus.

But the key issue facing college and city officials is paying for the new library building.

Staples said the city will submit a $2 million matching grant application to the state this October. If approved, that leaves another $2 million to raise. Staples said half of that amount could be garnered from a $1 million grant the city will seek from a state community development fund.

All of which means $1 million will still have to be raised, assuming the state grant packages are approved.

Ideas include approaching the Gates Foundation, as well as other public and private donor sources.

Councilwoman Joan Souders encouraged thorough research into all grant possibilities. Dunham said sponsors could likely be found to pay for equipment inside the library. The kicker will be construction funds, said Dr. Linda Kaminski of YVCC, who noted few grant agencies will provide money for capital construction.

The college and the city have a goal to begin construction in 2009 or 2010, and open the library in 2011. Staples said there may be a possibility of tying in the library push with the city's centennial in 2009.

Staples says he's confident the library construction can become reality.

"My point of view is that nothing has come up to indicate this can't be done, and done in a cost effective manner," he says.

Grandview Mayor Norm Childress agrees.

"There's a lot of positive energy," he said with a nod to the YVCC campus in Grandview, as well as the recent conversion of the former Safeway building into a training facility "We have a lot of examples of what you can do as long as you push through with a can-do attitude."

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