Designs are still being worked on, and architects still need the basic information before construction can begin on the Joe Barnhart Bee County Library’s additional building that will expand its offerings.
The Joe Barnhart Foundation recently purchased property located on the corner of Washington and Corpus Christi streets, across from the library, where the new facility will be built. This is the parking lot diagonal to the courthouse between Prosperity Bank and Beeville Publishing Company.
Named the Joe Barnhart Bee County Library Learning Center, this new building will include meeting rooms, WiFi and projectors.
Cynthia Blatherwick, library director, said that she hasn’t seen final plans yet but added that it is the Joe Barnhart Foundation that is coordinating the endeavor.
She does know that the building will be a contemporary style structure and will include plenty of parking for patrons there and across the street at the main building.
This past Friday, crews from Envirocore Drilling out of Corpus Christi, were in town taking soil samples. One item of note is that the soil samples taken seemed to suggest that the area once housed a filling station.
Indeed, a search of the newspaper archive showed that a Mobil filling station was in that parking lot.
This new space will not only be used for meetings but also some of the larger children’s programs at the library.
This month alone, the library has a multitude of programs planned, including the regular storytimes, along with hula hoop day on April 18 and homework centers throughout the weeks.
Maggie Price, member of the foundation board, is just as excited, probably more so, for construction to start.
Even she cannot rush construction.
“The architect is doing all the background work,” she said. “We tested the ground around the gas tanks that were there before.”
That is at least one of the many preliminary things that must be done.
“I don’t know when we will get started,” she said.
She jokes that, “I told the architect the Empire State Building was built in 13 months.”
As she has been working on this project for two years now, she is accustomed to waiting and knows it will all be worth it.
“I think it will be wonderful for the library,” she said. “The library has been such a success that we have outgrown the space. (Blatherwick) is going to have meetings, computer classes and distance learning in this new room.”
The design style will be different than the historic look of the library and newly renovated bank.
“It is going to be beautiful,” she said. “This will be more contemporary, but it will blend in with the surroundings.”
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.