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Council awards library contract
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BRODHEAD - Residents of Brodhead are one step closer to a new library.

Members of the Brodhead City Council awarded the Memorial Public Library building contract to Roberts Construction Inc. of Madison on Friday.

The council also approved an additional $55,000 for a sprinkler system, according to library director Gloria Rosa.

"To actually have this happen after more than 10 years of planning is almost unbelievable," Rosa said.

Council members discussed the library project at its meeting July 14 but postponed awarding the building contract until Friday when funding was in place.

A representative from Roberts Construction estimates "that if everything goes smoothly that they should be in the new library by January 2009," Rosa said.

On Monday, Rosa and other library staff were planning and reviewing materials for next summer's reading program for the new library.

"The sky is the limit," Rosa said. "It does get rather exciting when you think about the future in a new library."

The library will cost an estimated $1.65 million to construct. Library Board members have received about $270,000 in donations and a matching grant from members of the Brodhead Area Foundation. The council has committed to borrowing $1 million for construction.

Including in the foundation's matching grant is $75,000 to purchase land and $35,000 directed to the building fund "to keep the momentum going."

Foundation secretary Ron Brown, who has been involved with the library project for more than six years, said members were able to make the contributions because of a gift from the late Dr. Seth Cain and his wife, Esther. Cain was a long-time dentist in Brodhead and a library board member.

The new 12,500-square-foot library will be built at West Fifth Avenue and 25th Street. The old library on Second Avenue was built in the 1960s and is 5,000 square feet.

In May, Roberts Construction submitted the lowest bid for $1,394,000 and included a second alternative bid for an additional $55,000 for a sprinkler system. Planning and research for a new library started in 1998 when members of the Library Board started looking for building sites.