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Sharon Forks Library expansion likely larger

Other notes

The Forsyth County Public Library board meeting Monday night also marked the last official one with Jon McDaniel as director.

McDaniel is set to retire in December after 40 years of working in libraries.

He worked in Gwinnett’s regional system before taking the helm in Forsyth when it split from Gwinnett.

Anna Lyle will take over as the county’s second library director.

SOUTH FORSYTH — A project to improve the quality of space and materials at a Forsyth County Public Library branch that last year had the second-highest circulation rate in Georgia is on track to meet goals in the design and architectural stage, officials said.

Architects have so far been able to accommodate all of the library board’s priorities in the expansion of Sharon Forks Library, one of four branches in the local system, and be able to increase square footage by more than anticipated.

The goal was to build an additional 14,000 square feet, said Anna Lyle, assistant director for support services for the library system who is set to become director in December. Designs show an expansion of 18,000 square feet, almost double the existing size.

“We’re feeling like we are going to accomplish everything we wanted to do, and more,” Lyle said.

The library system received $2 million from the state’s 2016 $21.8 billion budget to be used for renovation and expansion projects, including the one at Sharon Forks.

The funding will be used in conjunction with $2.8 million from a 1-cent sales tax referendum that residents approved in November 2011 to fund $100 million in various county projects.

Those projects included the new county courthouse and jail, both of which opened this year in downtown Cumming.

Jon McDaniel, the system director who is retiring after 20 years at the helm, noted the Sharon Forks layout encroaches on the site’s buffer zone, so about 500 feet will have to be cut.

As scheduled, design is expected to be completed this spring, with construction wrapping up in spring 2017.

McDaniel said fall 2017 is a more realistic timeline considering potential weather and materials delays, as well as other unforeseen obstacles that can so often emerge.

Lyle said the meeting room will be expanded, allowing for two spaces when split.

The children, juvenile and teen space will gain increased seating space, with the teen area garnering special design and focus.

Five study rooms will be built, an increase from three or four in other branches.

The current front steps will be closed in to create a mid-size room (capacity 20 people), which can be divided into two smaller eight- to 10-person rooms.

A new entrance will be established on Old Atlanta Road, which is currently the side.

A hot spot will be installed similar to the one at Post Road Library, Lyle said.

The automated materials handling system has proved to be one of the only obstacles so far. While it is still possible, it may have to be a larger system that passes overhead through the library.