Clinton, South Carolina – Clinton City Council got a look Monday evening at an array of conceptual drawings of the long-anticipated Clinton branch of the Laurens County Library. And with construction expected to begin soon, the library might be hosting patrons by next summer at its planned location of 304 W. Pitt St., just a block behind the Municipal Center.
After its Broad Street building was condemned, the Clinton branch of the Laurens County Library has been in a rented storefront for the intervening 21 years. The Capital Project Sales Tax referendum, passed in the fall of 2020, is finally making a new library a reality, although the plans are not the same which were presented initially.
“We had a budget of $4.3 million and we needed to stay within that,” Laurens County Library System Director Renita Barksdale said. “The committee started working on it in March of 2021 and with the construction costs up, we were thinking just to put in the ground it was going to be over $4 million.”
Now two years later, with plans created by Studio 2LR Architects out of Columbia and a bid for construction by Solid Structures out of Columbia, Barksdale presented city council Monday night with a plan which has come in under budget. Work will begin once Laurens County Council signs off on the bid, Barksdale said.
Costs are estimated at $3.122 million, allowing for plenty of funds remaining to outfit the library with all its necessary furnishings.
“We did everything slowly just to make sure it fits the community, and making sure that we had the right construction team and the right architect team,” Barksdale said. “We had several designs and they had to tell me what they liked about the design or what they didn’t like about the design and then rank them. I wanted everybody to have a voice and an opinion.”
The result is an open floor plan, but with plenty of additional rooms such as a large community meeting room, two smaller study rooms and spaces for children and youth, as well as for staff.
Duke Energy has also offered to cover the cost of 3D printers and other equipment for a “Makers Space,” Barksdale said.
Once the new library is completed, Barksdale is hoping for the approval of two additional hires to extend Clinton library hours into lunch on weekdays and Saturday hours.
“We will have a reading garden and benches for people to rest or just to visit,” Barksdale said. “We feel like this will be something the Clinton community will be excited about.”
Original story ran page 1 in the Wednesday, June 14, 2023 , issue of The Laurens County Advertiser.