From a tiny 12-square-foot operation in the 1950s, to its present 8,000-square-foot bursting-at-the-seams facility at the Womans Club on Main Street, the Payson Public Library has come a long way over the years.
With construction of a new library near the top of the list of Town Council priorities this year, Payson will soon have a bigger, brighter literary center with even more room to grow.
In 1986, the Library Friends of Payson was formed to raise funds for a new library, which over the next 15 years came close to becoming a reality three times.
Flash forward to the present -- past shifts in money-raising responsibilities, a failed 1997 bond issue, and more dashed-and-revived hopes than you'd find in a season's worth of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" episodes.
The brand-new, state-of-the-art Payson Public Library is now very close to reality. So close, in fact, that it was the town's number one priority until mid-February, when a town council priority shuffle relegated the new library to second place after water development.
With a decidedly unrural design by Valley architect Larry Enyart and a preselected Rumsey Park building site, this 15,765 square foot literary palace is budgeted at $2,154,000 (a figure which includes a 10 percent contingency for construction change orders which may or may not occur).
According to Payson Library Director Terry Morris, the construction timeline for the library, which is now halfway through the construction documents phase, will go something like this:
• 15 days of partial construction documents review, after which the plans will go back to the architect.
• 60 days of alterations and corrections by the architect.
• The Building Department's process of review, which usually takes about 45 days, after which all deficiencies are corrected.
• The project will then go to bid, and contractors will be given six to eight weeks to review the plans and estimate their material needs.
Once the bid is awarded, Morris said, "The shovels hit the dirt."