Hedberg Public Library in position to pull off capital campaign for remodeling

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Elliot Hughes
Wednesday, December 9, 2015

JANESVILLE--The Hedberg Public Library board should have little reason to doubt it can raise the capital necessary for a proposed multimillion-dollar remodeling project, a consultant said Wednesday.

Jim Radford, the president of the consultant firm Holmes, Radford & Avalon, presented results of a feasibility study to members of the library's board of trustees, foundation and friends group Wednesday. He said the library should be able to raise the funds necessary--between $2.5 million and $3.5 million--to give its interiors a facelift.

“Janesville is a very generous community,” he said. “It's impressive. People step behind institutions they value.”

Before launching into a campaign, the library's board of trustees must first vote to do so. Library Director Bryan McCormick expects the board to take up the subject at its meeting next week.

If the cost of the project stays nearer to $2.5 million, McCormick imagined the library would need to raise about $1.5 million from outside sources.

Radford proposed a general strategy in which library officials would spend all of 2016 building an awareness campaign and securing major gifts from donors that would supply 85 percent of the fundraising goal.

The final 15 percent would be raised in early 2017 by asking the public for donations. McCormick said construction could begin sometime in 2017 but would mostly take place in 2018.

The remodeling would include a more centrally-located information desk, new study and meeting spaces, technology upgrades and an expanded teen center.

Perhaps the biggest change would be creating access to the library's program room directly from the building's entrance. That would allow staff to seal off the rest of the building and allow programs to run outside the library's business hours.

The library would not have to close at any point during the remodeling, McCormick has said.

That plan is far less extensive than the last time the library received a facelift. In the mid-1990s, $8 million went into gutting the building's interiors and building a lower-level cafe.

The library raised $1.1 million in a capital campaign that time. The rest was paid for by taxpayers and major donations.

Last updated: 6:12 pm Wednesday, December 9, 2015

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