Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

September 12, 2013

Rusk on the cusp of city library expansion project

Jo Anne Embleton
Jacksonville Daily Progress

RUSK — City and library officials are waiting on finalized plans from architects before work can begin on a proposed 5,700-square-foot library expansion project at Singletary Memorial Library.

Singletary Director Amy Derrington said workers have already started groundwork behind the library, located on 6th St., just off the Cherokee County Courthouse square.

“Technically we are supposed to start in September – anytime this month – so hopefully we'll be started by the first of October,” she said, adding that staff is “looking to be in the new addition by early spring.”

Earlier this year, Rusk City Manager Mike Murray said city officials were working with local builders Berry & Clay, who were to provide final drawings and estimate on the project, which also calls for a small parking lot and new entrance facing Lone Oak Street, with the original building renovated into a community room.

Derrington said the current estimate on the project is $970,000.

Recently, the library received a $49,993 Tocker Foundation grant that will provide items such as fixed and mobile shelving, furniture like tables, chairs and stools, as well as end panels for existing shelving purchased with a 2004 Tocker grant.

“We are going to use the shelves we bought then, but replace the endcaps so that they'll match the (new) shelving,” Derrington said.

The addition is a much-needed project, and will help more than double the existing floor space of the present library, which is 1,982 square feet, and in dire need of more room to accommodate programs held there.

“We have TJC nursing students who study here, and our English as a Second Language and GED classes, we put wherever we can find space. And during the summer, we used the area outside in back for our reading program just to accommodate all the kids we had in the program, which was about 120,” she said. “So we're definitely looking forward (to creating a community room out of the existing library once the new building is constructed).”

Programs that have already kicked off include 10:15 a.m. Wednesday children's story and craft time, as well as after-school activities at 3:40 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Beginning Tues., Oct. 1, Singletary Memorial will host ESL classes from 10 a.m. to noon, Tuesdays; Basic Computer Class 101, from 9-10 a.m. Thursdays; and GED classes from 5:15-6:30 p.m. Mondays.

To learn more about these programs, contact Singletary Memorial Library, 903-683-5916.