UPDATE: During Elsie S. Hogan Library Director Tom Miner's speech at the May 9 open house, he also thanked former State Representative Peggy Judd "for preparing/drafting the initial floor plan," as well as the Friends of the Library, "who have supported us in so many different ways too numerous to mention here today." He also acknowledged "each and every member of my wonderful staff and volunteers, for hanging in there, and perservering with me all the way through this 'experience.'" Miner also acknowledged Holly Henley, Jaime Ball, and Laura Stone, all with the Arizona State Library, who were present at the open house.
WILLCOX - After five-years of renovations, the Elsie S. Hogan Library is celebrating its completion with an open house from 11 a.m., to 3 p.m., on Friday, May 9.
“We will be recognizing a lot of individuals, groups and professional firms, near and far, that helped us get where we are today,” said Tom Miner, the City’s Library Director.
Talking about the history of the library renovation project, Miner said, “First off, every construction/renovation project starts off as an idea, a goal, a dream...”
In 2001-02, Miner and former Library Director Nancy Guerrero “sat down together and reviewed thoughts and plans and tips she had collected over time from our patrons, and we began to discuss them in terms of needs versus wants,” he said.
“The ideas morphed into some goals, which morphed into some plans, during which time we built the library’s first (of three) five-year strategic plans, which then were reviewed by our Public Library Advisory Committee, and they had some suggestions, and those morphed into a floor plan, and viola! We were ready to begin.”
As it turned out, the library renovation was in the last part of the bond appropriation for the City’s new Justice Complex on Rex Allen Drive.
“That had to be built first, before funds (10 percent of the total) were available for us to begin our renovations,” said Miner, adding, “We had $155,000.”
“Years passed, but finally in February 2009, we were ready to meet with the architect, starting with Ms. Dawn K. Brown of Dick & Fritsche Design Group (DFDG) in Phoenix,” he said.
“We had a great discussion, collaboration, and initial design conversations until she fell victim to the economic collapse in Phoenix that year, and left the company.”
Brown was replaced by Staci D. Seyer, one of the firms’ senior vice presidents, and then the library ended up working with CEO Michael Schmitt toward the end.
Miner explained that he has all three of them to thank for the final design.
Woods Construction of Phoenix acted as general contractor “for the hard work – tearing out walls, building four new rooms, and re-doing the restrooms, building a vestibule on the east side, blasting through 18-inch thick concrete walls for double doors, etc.,” he said.
“By the time they were done, we had stretched that $155,0000 bond money like a rubber band,” said Miner, adding, “To build the vestibule, we had to go to the Arizona State Library, and get an SGIA-C grant from them in the amount of $30,000. So I have them to thank, also.”
“Now, the architects were very smart, and they earned every penny of their 20 percent of the bond fee,” he said.
“They knew we still had needs that were not going to be met because we did not have enough money, so they prepared detailed plans for ‘optioning’ the remaining renovations we needed, figuring we would eventually find a way to raise enough money to finish the project,” Miner said.
“God did indeed smile down on us a few months later, and thanks to the architects’ options work, we received a no-cost grant from the USDA Rural Development Agency for $117,700.”
The library director expressed his appreciation for then-PLAC Vice Chairman John Hilton “pulled all of the information together we needed to submit (an inch-thick document) to USDA, and we made their deadline with time to spare.”
Miner also acknowledged Jeff Hooper with the USDA Office in Willcox “for having the patience of Job as we worked through the five architectural ‘options’/elements of the grant, one-by-one, over the past three and a half years.”
“But it all paid off – five ways:”
•The addition of a 400-square-foot solarium, installed by Four Seasons Sunrooms of Phoenix/Tucson. Miner also acknowledged the Department of Public Services and Works for pouring the colored concrete floor that supports it; contracting with Advanced Air Systems of Safford “for the climate controls we have in it, and blasting through another 18-inch thick wall to create a door into it.”
•New carpeting throughout the library, which prompted “the only time we closed the library – for a week – during the whole five-year project,” he said.
Public Works brought in a crew of 16 “to help move everything off the floor of the library”so that the carpet could be installed.
•Sylvia Obert-Turner and Painter’s Plus repainted and added “new murals to the outside of the building, and then clear-coating them to prevent yellowing and fading,” Miner said.
•The installation of a security camera surveillance system as well as an anti-theft detection system.
Miner thanked Public Works, former PLAC member Jeffrey Shroyer, Jerry Sunderland, and Jeff Stoddard, director of the City’s Development Services Department, for the work they did on that part of the project.
•Willcox Master Gardeners June Vinall and Marilyn Weaver, along with former Public Works Director and “landscaper extraordinaire” John Bowen, worked “on the design and planting all the shrubs, flowers, and trees in the front of the library to finish off the project.”
Miner also acknowledged Bowen for coordinating with Rob Call, from the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, “on signing the plants on both sides, so our patrons/viewers can know what they are, either from inside the solarium or from the sidewalk outside.”
“Then there was adding the new flagpole – first one in 18-plus years, and installing new metal on both gable ends of the building, and new lights in the marquee, making it much more attractive, and replacing/adding more insulation – all done by the Public Works Department,” he said.
“My hat’s off to all of you.”
The May 9 event will include free food, prizes, music and guided tours, as well as a Friends of the Library fundraiser, raffle and bake sale.
The Cochise County Library District Bookmobile will be on display at the library that day.
Tom Miner is looking to borrow an “Open House” sign to put on the building. If anyone has one available, or for more information on the event, contact the library at (520) 766-4250.