Plans for a new library in southwest Forsyth are one step closer to becoming a reality, per a vote by the Forsyth County Public Library board Monday evening.
Board members unanimously voted on July 17 to purchase 9.5 acres of land adjacent to Denmark High School for $763,560, which will be the county’s sixth public high school and is set to open in August 2018.
Library impact fees will be used to purchase the property, which is located off Fowler Road.
The price is equivalent to buying 7.07 acres at $108,000 per acre, said Mary Helen McGruder, board chairwoman.
Though the land purchase must be approved by the Board of Commissioners and Board of Education, from whom the library will be purchasing the land from, commissioners previously expressed their support for the new location, with BOC Chairman Todd Levent recently telling Library Director Anna Lyle they should count on having the land.
Kristin Morrissey, school board chairwoman and a member of the library board, said there is not currently a time-frame as to when the new branch will open, but when it comes to purchasing land, which she said is especially scarce in south Forsyth, “you bite when you can.”
“Years ago, we banked land in Matt Community Park for a library up there,” she said. “We’ve been looking at several sites in south Forsyth, and when the school system had a little spare land, we jumped at the opportunity.
“It’s a win-win for both the county and school system — we only needed small parcel, and they didn’t need that section.”
Morrissey said the price, which ultimately comes out to $80,347 per acre, was agreed upon based on how much land the library actually needs.
“When we carved out the piece we needed, it left about two acres that were pretty much not useable for anyone else,” she said. “It was just a leftover parcel, so it made the best sense of taxpayer dollars for the [county and school] to say, ‘Just take the whole piece, but we’ll give it to you at the price of $108,000 [for 7.07] acres.”
She said the new library is needed in south Forsyth.
Sharon Forks, the south Forsyth branch that is currently undergoing an expansion, has the highest circulation of public libraries in the state, and even during construction, it has remained busy.
“Even with the construction, this past month surpassed last year’s circulation rate [for the same time period],” Morrissey said. “That tells you how much the library is used.
“The school system knows how important early childhood education is, so a partnership is just a win-win for taxpayers.”
She added the location is especially ideal because the library will sit so close to Denmark.
“It’ll have to go to the Board of Education and the BOC for a final agreement and vote,” she said, “but it’s great to know kids at Denmark can finish school and walk over to the library and do homework and access the free Wi-Fi and all that.”