Q. What about repairing, remodeling and enlarging the existing location?
A. The 1972 building replaced the crowded, deteriorated original 1956 library in a former livery stable just off the Ozark square. It greatly improved library service to the then 15,000 county residents. In 2002, surveys, focus groups, panel discussions and consultants began to study ways to update and improve library services for the population now estimated at 75,000. Reusing the current building would disrupt library services for at least two years as the two story addition was built, then the original structure gutted and rebuilt. Upgrading the 1972 building, without an increase in funding, would consume all savings to create a larger building which the district could not then afford to operate. The limitations of the existing building would complicate a library design. An adequate building size, necessary parking, and setbacks to comply with code to allow an occupancy permit could not fit on the current lot. The county library’s location would still not be centrally located to serve Ozark, Highlandville, Selmore, McCracken, Fremont Hills, and Nixa, requiring a separate, equal building to serve some locations. County citizens clearly preferred improvement for all. Seventy-seven percent of residents in surveys preferred the three-library option over the two library or the most expensive four library options which might have included a renovation of the 1972 building. Convenience, fairness and costs are primary reasons for residents’ decision.