Although dropping temperatures were accompanied with a blowing, chilly breeze Wednesday morning, the hearts of the community were quickly warmed with excitement during the official groundbreaking ceremony for the new Art Circle Public Library.
At least 100 members of the community attended the ceremony including parents, children, community leaders, library staffers, volunteers, friends of the library, members of the board of trustees for the library and city and county government leaders. Cookies and lemonade were served to the public under a tent and a bright, sunny sky.
"This event has been a long time in the making," said Cumberland County Mayor Brock Hill.
Hill began the ceremony with a moment of silence honoring the efforts and memory of the late Carol Darling, who served as chairperson of the Board of Trustees for the Art Circle Library, and for former county clerk and county commissioner Pete Stubbs. Stubbs also previously served on the library board and passed away last week.
"I know this is a day they would have both been very happy about and proud of," Hill said.
Hill briefly discussed the history of libraries and thanked several people and agencies in the community for their generous donations and efforts in making the new library building project a reality.
Hill thanked the Cumberland County Commission, city of Crossville, corporate sponsors Volunteer Energy Cooperative, Frontier Communications, Crossville Ceramics, Tennessee Building Stone, Cumberland Mountain Stone, the Cumberland County Master Gardeners, state representatives Eric Swafford and Charlotte Burks, Congressman Lincoln Davis, the state of Tennessee Library and Archives and Caney Fork Regional Library.
He also thanked the Art Circle, Friends of the Art Circle Library, the newly formed Art Circle Library Foundation, Inc. chaired by Diane Brown, and the Board of Trustees of the Art Circle Public Library.
Sandra Purcell, current chairperson of the Board of Trustees for the Art Circle Library, also spoke to the crowd and told the community, "This is going to be a library facility the community can be proud of and it will serve the community's young and old. The library is not just books. It's going to be a civic living room ..."
She explained the Board of Trustees and members of the library staff had visited at least 26 newer libraries and took pictures and made lists of what they liked and didn't like and combined them all to determine the wants and needs and worked with the architects in order to plan the vision the group had for the library.
Purcell echoed Hill's thank you to many in the public and reminded everyone that the Friends of the Library annual book sale is this coming weekend. The event serves as the primary fundraiser for the group.
She also thanked everyone in the community for their support of the project.
After the ceremony Diane Brown, Carol Darling's mother, said she knew Carol was there in spirit and was proud of what Carol had accomplished in the community.
"I know that we wouldn't be here today if it weren't for Carol. I have never seen anyone so driven on a project. Well, not since my mother and her work on getting the old library built in 1939," Brown said.
She added, "I think this library is the biggest, positive thing that has happened in this community in more than a decade. It's going to be a wonderful facility and it will add so much to our town."
The low bid of $5,175,000 for the project was submitted by Hickory Construction of Alcoa, TN. Two alternates for case work inside the library in the amount of $84,327 and for sidewalks in the amount of $19,442 were also approved for a grand total of $5,278,769. Representatives from Hickory Construction were also on hand for the ceremony.
The company speculates it will complete the project in 35 weeks, barring any complications. Construction is expected to begin within the next few weeks.
The library will be approximately 30,000 square feet and will offer the same amenities as the current library, but will be greatly expanded, updated and include new services and computer areas as well.
The new facility will consist of a two-story building with an attached single story meeting facility. The meeting area can be closed off from the library for after-hour use for meetings or public events. The meeting room will seat around 200 people.
The library will be at 3 East St. directly behind the Cumberland County Courthouse.