Officials take step toward renovation of Nola Brantley Memorial Library

jmink@macon.comFebruary 19, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- Inside a former bank at the corner of Myrtle Street and Watson Boulevard, a few book shelves cluster inside the main room. People clutch books as they sit next to a wall that is decorated with large letters, which spell R-E-A-D. Children wander inside for story time, and patrons drop an assortment of books in an outside box.

It is only a temporary home for the Nola Brantley Memorial Library, as the permanent structure sits across the street, the interior demolished. It’s part of the $1.9 million renovation process, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The Houston County Commission made another step toward the project Tuesday, when it unanimously approved the renovation contract and guaranteed maximum price agreement for International City Builders of Warner Robins.

“This is a long time coming,” Houston County Commission Chairman Tommy Stalnaker said.

The Warner Robins library is in store for a complete renovation. Workers are gutting the inside to make the building more open. Ceilings will be renovated; heating and air conditioning will be upgraded; the history room will be refurbished to hold local historical society archives, and a teen room will be added.

“It’s old, very old,” Commissioner Larry Thomson said. “The plumbing’s old, the air conditioning is old, the ceilings, everything needed to be repaired.”

And it’s not the only local library that needs a face lift, Thomson said.

The Perry Public Library is also in line for major renovations and an expansion, but officials are waiting for state funding. They need about $1.6 million in state dollars -- in addition to the promised $800,000 special purpose local option sales tax revenue -- to complete the project, Thomson said.

The project has been first in line for those state funds for the past few years, but has been passed over for other projects. Officials are hopeful that the project will finally snag some state money this year, said Caroline Smith, member of the local library board.

The Nola Brantley renovation is completely funded by SPLOST money.

As they wait for the Warner Robins library to be completed, workers and patrons are using a the small, brick building across the street.

The temporary building is working well, Smith said. Patrons still check out books, utilize computers and take their children to story time there.

“But it’s not the same as the regular library,” she said.

Feagin Mill widening

Commissioners also approved a bid for phase two of the widening of Feagin Mill Road. The nearly $3.3 million project, which will be between Houston Lake and Moody roads, will be completed by Georgia Asphalt. The project should start in about two months and is scheduled to be finished within two years. It is the last major county-wide road project, Stalnaker said.

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this article. To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 256-9751.

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