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Walton will receive a new library

The Little Walton Library will soon become a 25,000 square foot community center.

A new library location is being planned within the Boone County Public Library System. Walton currently has a location at 21 S. Main St., but construction of a new Walton library location is first on the list of the 20-year vision for the library system, according to the master plan which calls for 2020 until 2040.

The new location will be on 5.6 acres at the intersection of Towne Center Road and Service Drive, near the Kroger in Walton. Library executive director Carrie Herrmann said the Walton Library’s current location is 6,000 square feet and landlocked. She said it’s small and lacks the features the community wants.

The Walton Library, as it stands, now has a conference room that can accommodate “15 to 20 people, and that’s if you want to be really close and friendly,” Herrmann said.

“It needs to be bigger to meet the needs of the southern part of Boone County, which is currently experiencing growth,” Herrmann said.

In 2019, Boone County Library signed a contract with MSR, a Minneapolis-based architectural firm, to develop a facilities master plan. They sought to find out if the current branches of the library were located in the right places, at the right size, offering the right services, and if not, to see what needed to be done for the library to respond to the needs of the community.

That study flagged Walton as the top priority, Herrmann said. The master plan was made public on the Boone County Public Library website, bcpl.org, under the “About Us” section.

Herrmann said $12.5 million is planned for the new location, which will include a creative space for the public, space to hold cooking and fitness classes, and an outdoor venue for events. Two public hearings were held to see what the community was looking for in their library, and Herrmann said some of the suggestions were included in the design.

The building will also have solar panels as well as geothermal capabilities, which Herrmann says will save the county money on its utility bills.

The exterior will feature a modern design, a departure from the classic look of the Burlington branch of the Boone County Public Library. Herrmann said this library would model the location of Hebron in several ways.

The library can put the project in competition before the end of the year. If not, a proposal will need to be presented to the Boone County Tax Court for approval, due to a new law that takes effect January 1, 2023. Senate Bill 167 requires councils library to seek tax court approval for capital projects over $1. million.