Officials seek input on new library

County officials want citizen input on a planned new library in Sherrills Ford.

Plans call for the new library to be built near the intersection of Sherrills Ford Road and N.C. 150. The new facility will help address space and community needs that the current library building lacks, officials say.

Catawba County has hired an architect and is in the planning stages.

Library officials want citizen input from residents who live in the Sherrills Ford and Terrell areas.

“County staff who are involved in the planning phase for the new Sherrills Ford/Terrell library and the design architect are very interested in getting input from the people living in the area to be served by the library,” said Karen Foss, Catawba County library director.

Citizens are asked to take an online survey to give their input on the new library. Foss said area residents ages 10 and older can complete the survey through Jan. 27.

Officials have budgeted $2.9 million over the past several years for the building that will more than triple the space of the current branch in Sherrills Ford, said Dewey Harris, assistant Catawba County manager.

According to the Catawba County Library System, plans call for a 10,000-square-foot facility across from the former Terrell General Store.

The new library will sit on 2.5 acres owned by the Connor family and will be part of a larger mixed-use development for retail.

The new building will have dedicated space for children’s programs, community meetings and technology training, according to county information.

The current location also has limited parking, and many residents are forced to park across the street from the current library if there is an event, Harris said. He said the new facility will offer adequate parking space.

Currently, the library serves a population of about 21,000.

County library officials say more space will also allow the library to expand its book collection. The Sherrills Ford branch currently houses about 16,000 items with an annual circulation of more than 55,000.

The estimated construction cost for the new library is $2.7 million, provided the building does not have “green” features.

Those additions could increase the cost by $400,000 or more, according to the county.

The county has hired designers from Jenkins Peer Architects, of Charlotte, to draw plans for the building that should be complete in fall 2013, Harris said.