The opening step toward a new Maricopa Public Library was taken Tuesday at the regular meeting of the city council.

Maricopa City Council approved a $830,530 contract with Hidell Associates Architects, Inc., of Carrollton, Texas, for design and construction administration services to build the new library facility. Hidell Associates Architects’ sole job is designing libraries around the nation.

The council approved the beginning of a new city library with a unanimous vote.

“The current library facility is too small and somewhat outdated,” said City Manager Rick Horst. “The city has anticipated, for a long time, the opportunity to create a new facility to this city.”

Horst said the Arizona Legislature adopted new debt fee rules in 2014. Under those rules changes it is now required that the city expend these funds for a library prior to the end of 2019 or they lose them. The funds could only be used toward a library project, according to Horst.

“We should do more with the architect design, construction and guidance, so that we do not risk losing these funds,” Hosrt told the council.

The library project being proposed Tuesday was what Horst called the first phase of the library. He said the proposed building would be about 25,000 square feet in size when phase one is completed. It will double in size when phase two is implemented.

“We feel, as a staff, that we can do this without any tax increases to our constituents,” he said. “We feel very comfortable that we can do this without any debt to the city. Ultimately, 25,000 square feet will not be enough, so we are planning space-wise for an additional 25,000 square feet.”

Horst said the city will likely also add branch libraries around the community.

There will be at least two public meetings in March and April where citizens can have input into the library’s design. The dates of the meetings will be announced soon, he said.

The location of the library has been planned to be part of the 140-acre city center complex and built just south of city hall. The city center complex is the geographical center of the City of Maricopa boundaries.

Horst said the new library will likely cost about $8 million to build but final costs, after furnishings and technology are installed, will be more in the $10 million range.

Funding for the $800,000 contract awarded to Hidell Associates Architects on Tuesday is paid from the city’s Library DIF1 ORG-32133135 funds.

Horst said the current library location on Smith-Enke Road will likely be turned into use by senior citizens, veterans, arts and performing art presentations, musical performances, public meetings and rentals for special events. He said that the space should accommodating between 200 and 250 performances annually.

The current Maricopa Veterans Center, next to the new Heritage Park on the Maricopa/Casa Grande Highway, could be turned over to the Historical Society for a museum next to the Zephyr rail car, according to Horst.

 

In other matters Tuesday evening:

The council voted to keep its regular meetings at 7 p.m. and mostly eliminate the work sessions they have been having at 6 p.m. before the regular meetings. The work sessions, if needed, will be part of the regular meetings or called as a special meeting. The start time of the regular meetings can also be adjusted with the declaration of a special meeting in the event of a lengthy agenda.

The council approved the sale of land to Maricopa Auberge LLC in the Copper Sky Commercial district. The location will allow Maricopa Auberge to build an approximately 90-room business class LaQuinta Hotel at the site. The 87,120 square foot site is being sold to Maricopa Auberge for $435,600.

The council approved the elimination of the Non-Profit Funding Evaluation Committee, the Veteran Affairs Committee and eliminating the Youth Internship Program Advisory Committee. The changes are requested as the three committees are no longer necessary or functional.

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