New Library —Kay Harris @ LCDP 2012-10-01

At Monday’s Lowndes County Democratic Party meeting, LCDP Chair Gretchen Quarterman introduced Kay Harris as chairman of the Library Board. You can see that board in action a few weeks ago in these previous videos.

Kay Harris said she was not there as editor of the newspaper, since as such she wouldn’t be allowed (presumably by the newspaper) at a partisan meeting. She was there as chair of the library board. She said this is her fifth year on that board, and her second year as chairman.

Here’s a video playlist.

She said the county put her on that board to move along the library project, which had been in process for some time. She said she had led negotiations with the City of Valdosta for the Five Points process. She mentioned the Five Points Steering Committee, of which she is also a member.

About the current library building and how the new one would be better, she said,

The 62,000 square feet that the building is going to be is the minimum that meets current state standards. We are less than half that now. So we don’t anywhere near closely meet the current state standards for what this community is supposed to have. We don’t have the number of books; we don’t have the number of computers; we are seriously seriously behind just what the current standards are. The community put that library up about 50 years ago; it’s about 45 years old, and they just haven’t really done a whole lot to it since, folks. They added some on in the early 90s. The roof leaks, there’s mold, there’s two HVAC systems that don’t work together.

She said the plan included a separate space for African-American history, and also a temperature-controlled genealogy collection area, plus a coffee shop.

She said the state estimated $21 million, but the county and “the architect we’ve selected” think it can come in at $16 million. Of that $13 million is to come from SPLOST VII ( on the ballot in November). The rest must come from the state, if the legislature chooses to fund it, and they usually only fund one library project a year, maybe two or three. That would be only $1 million. The rest will come from the sale of the property to South Georgia Medical Center.

She said the computers are packed now with students doing homework, people filling out job applications, filling out college applications…

And everything else that’s currently online that you don’t have access to if you don’t have a computer. And unfortunately it’s hard to convince some folks in this town that every person in this county doesn’t have a computer at home. It’s amazing to me how many people think, “just tell them to go buy one for themselves.” Well, sure, that’s real easy, isn’t it? Everybody’s got a couple thousand dollars sitting around.

Would that be the sort of people who think anyone can afford $21 for a NOAA weather radio so the county shouldn’t accept a grant to buy them, yet it can award the Commissioners $75/day for travel and buy a tank? I’m just guessing; she didn’t say.

Kay Harris said the library is currently 60 computers below the state requirement, and the new facility needs at least 150.

This is all great stuff. Still, putting the library in the soon-to-be-vacant federal building would probably cost even less. And she had no explanation for why the library board selected an out-of-state architect.


4 thoughts on “New Library —Kay Harris @ LCDP 2012-10-01

  1. hhhhh

    Too bad no one reads this. More stellar inaccurate blogging. Why didn’t you ask Ms. Harris for an explanation concerning the out of state architecture selection if you’re so concerned about it. Haven’t you ever heard of fact checking? Really?

  2. hhhhh

    Why are you so against the library building project anyway? If you truly believe in transparency in government, why don’t you post a video of yourself or your wife explaining your opposition to the new library? You’re pathetic, and I’m sure posting your little blogs makes you feel so important.
    How does it feel making your family the biggest laughingstock of the county? Buying everyone in the county a computer is not the answer. A large percentage of people in Lowndes County don’t know how to use a computer. Are you going to personally go around and teach everyone computer literacy.

  3. kay harris

    I was never asked why we selected an out of town architect, but will happily answer that question now. First, they were the only one of the four finalists who did a full cost evaluation of the project, estimating $16 million while others were more than content to use the state’s estimate of $21 million. Second, they brought to the project a consultant who is considered the country’s leading library consultant; only one of the other four brought in an outside expert. Third, the principals of this firm live right over the county line in Florida–they are within the 50 mile radius that is considered “hiring local”, so they are indeed a local firm. They also brought a local engineering firm, from Valdosta, to the table, and have agreed to hire as many subs from the local area as possible. So I truly don’t understand the “jab” about hiring non-local… if it was that big a concern, why not just ask me the question? Mr. Quarterman wasn’t even in the room at the time I spoke…. Kay Harris

  4. Mike Cornelia

    Well, it seems like you are doing a great job Kay. I think it is great you are outsourcing an architect. Sometimes these air conditioning repair people and architects will do anything to make an extra buck. I hope that the rest of your research and construction goes smoothly!

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