116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARION — The new Marion Public Library, which was last aimed to be open around the Fourth of July, is now looking at a September grand opening.
Library Director Bill Carroll said the delay comes midst continued supply-chain issues and contractor worker shortages that have been seen around the country since the COVID-19 pandemic began two years ago.
“We’re looking at the grand opening sometime shortly after Labor Day,” Carroll told The Gazette on Tuesday. “The library board has not set a definitive date, but they are expected to do that at their July meeting.”
The new, two-floor building is located in the 1100 block of Sixth Avenue, across the street from the old library, which had been its location since 1996.
In that time, Marion has doubled its population since the original 24,500-square-foot library was built. The new building will be almost twice as big and feature a demonstration kitchen, a recording studio, a “green screen” room and gaming spaces.
The new facility broke ground in October 2020. The old library building was damaged in the August 2020 derecho and never reopened.
The city was granted limited occupancy at the end of May, so now Carroll, who has been the director for almost a year now, and most of his 25-member staff are now located in the new building and are working to move in materials and train on new technology and systems they didn’t have at the old location.
“It’s been very interesting trying to build relationships with all of the team members being at different locations, but now it’s interesting watching everyone come back together too,” Carroll said. “I’ve gone from having an office in City Hall with no books to now coming into the building with regular staff.”
Staff members continue to move materials from the now-closed Annex location, but the Uptown location at 1064 Seventh Ave. continues to be open for browsing, pickup and computer use.
“I’m feeling confident about the September date,” Carroll said. “The building is looking good on the inside and we're making progress every day.”
Carroll added that along with a long list of minor items that need to be done in the construction, a couple of bigger items include needing to install railings in the building, and the covering for the sinks, a special order item, has been delayed.
He also said the project still is under its initial $18 million cost. The funding comes from a $3.3 million capital campaign, $5 million in local-option sales tax funding, $3 million in property damage insurance and the sale of the current site, $6 million in bonding and $1 million in tax increment financing.
“We’re doing the best we can to work with the contractors to get open as quickly as possible and we’re going to have an amazing building after Labor Day,” Carroll said.
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