Library Crews Raising The Roof

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Besides books, one thing every library needs is a roof, and the brand new Payson Public Library is getting just that.

"What's going on right now if you drive by, you'll see they're putting the roof on," Payson Town Manager Rich Underkofler said. The 15,765-square-foot facility, under construction on McLane Road at Rumsey Park, is currently scheduled for completion around Nov. 1.

"That's provided there are no glitches," Payson Library Director Terry Morris said. While she can't control construction-related delays, Morris is hard at work making sure nothing goes wrong at her end.

"We've been before the Payson Town Council to discuss hiring another staff person to help us run the new library," she said, "but it looks like we'll wait until we open and see how much extra help we're going to need.

"We're also in the process of figuring out how much more shelving we need, and in the near future we'll be deciding what kind of furniture we need to purchase," she said. But Morris hasn't forgotten that libraries also are built with books.

"We've been very busy ordering books," she said. "We're using the public library catalog to get the core collection books that every good library has."

Friends of the Library, the volunteer organization headed by Judy Buettner that is raising money to furnish the building, also is "fronting the money to purchase books in all areas," Morris said.

Current plans are to "yellow dot" all the new books when the library opens. "That will indicate it's a new book to our collection," she said.

Other locals who are making special contributions to the new library include quilter Ginny Lennon and artist Melissa Peters. The duo are teaming up to provide the children's area of the new library with colorful, stimulating backdrops.

"Ginny Lennon, who is an accomplished quilter, is making a quilt for the kids area," Morris said. "It will consist of whimsical-type characters ladybugs and bumblebees and it will be done in vibrant colors royal blues, bright yellows and greens."

Peters, who did the King Arthur's Castle mural in the current library on Main Street, is planning to do a mural of a garden wall with flowers that incorporates all the "bug characters" in Lennon's quilt.

Underkofler reports that the total value of the library construction contract is currently $1,793,135. Amon Builders of Payson is the general contractor.

"So far we've dispersed $520,571, so based on those figures the project is 32 percent complete," Underkofler said. The Payson Town Council rearranged its 2001 Corporate Strategic Plan priorities in February so the new library could be paid for in cash, allowing the $240,000 earmarked for debt service on that project to be applied to a new multi-generational community recreation center.

The money to pay for the library construction is coming from funds budgeted for improvements to North McLane Road. Those improvements have been deferred.

"The council decided it made more sense to pay for the library with cash and get started on the community center instead," Underkofler said.

While Friends of the Library continues its longstanding support of the new library the group struggled for 15 years to raise money for the project Morris also is grateful for the contributions of individuals like Peters, Lennon and many others.

"Glen McCombs, owner of Plant Fair Nursery, has donated a beautiful flagstone bench that is going outside, and the parents of Ashley Allen, the 5-year-old Payson girl who recently died of brain cancer, wanted to do something, so we will have another bench dedicated in her memory outside," Morris said. "It's just amazing how many people are coming forward."

Friends of the Library is continuing to raise money to furnish the interior of the library, and to possibly build an addition at some time in the future. Donations to the group's building fund can be made at the current library.

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