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Sharon Forks Library set to expand
State grant may increase size of project
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Lynn Eason reads a book at her desk in the Friends Book Store located inside of the Sharon Forks Library on Tuesday afternoon. - photo by Micah Green

SOUTH FORSYTH — The Forsyth County Public Library Board plans to pursue a $2 million state construction grant that could be used to fund a larger-than-planned expansion of the Sharon Forks branch.

The popular library on Old Atlanta Road in south Forsyth was already set to be expanded next year using money from impact fees and the 2011 voter-approved extension of the 1-cent sales tax.

“[But] if we were to get a state construction grant, we could expand it from 8,000 [square feet] to 12,000 [or] 14,000,” said Jon McDaniel, director of the local library system.

“If we don’t get it, then we do have more impact fees than when we had the [sales tax] referendum … so we can probably expand it beyond what we initially thought.”

Impact fees are fees levied on developers for new construction, of which there has been much in Forsyth over the past year.

The possible grant for Sharon Forks, which has the second highest circulation of libraries in the state, came up during the library board’s meeting Monday night.

Plans call for enlarging the meeting room at Sharon Forks by at least a third and add individual study rooms and a collaborative space with whiteboards and overhead projectors that groups can use.

Since most library visitors use their own computers, McDaniel said it’s unlikely that many more computer stations would be added.

“Mostly, it’s just expansion for the sheer number of people who come in the library, not to mention more parking spaces,” he said.

Also during the meeting Monday night, McDaniel reviewed preliminary plans to build two new libraries in the northwest and southwest corners of the county as the population grows.

The board also discussed budget adjustments for fiscal year 2015, including receiving a state major repair and renovation technology replacement grant for $31,070.

A grant of $18,221 was also received from the Institute for Museum and Library services for science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, materials. 

The board also received donations of $12,000 from FPCL Friends and Advocates, and $1,000 from a Hampton Park library visitor. The donations and grants were all approved by the board.

The board also noted Post Road Library’s award for LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

The library was certified in 2013, and recently received the physical award. It is the only LEED-certified building in the county, according to Anna Lyle, the system’s assistant director for support services.