New Crete Public Library is open
The Crete Public Library and community room occupies a total of 20,000 square feet of space on the block which formerly housed the city’s first modern hospital. The new library's entrance plaza is located off the new main parking lot at 15th Street and Forest Ave. Opening Day was Jan. 30.
The City Council accepted a bid of $5,559,000 from Sampson Construction in August of 2018 with a groundbreaking held just over a month later on Sept. 12. The building, designed by BVH Architecture, includes:
- new library (about 15,000 square feet)
- adult reading room with a two-sided fireplace
- gallery wall for rotating art displays
- study and meeting rooms with digital screens
- teen space
- patron computers and patron wi-fi
- technology room
- children's area with activities and accessible book bins
- family seating area with an accessible restroom
- children's program room and reading garden
- cafe area and additional seating areas throughout the library
- drive up window and drop-off for library materials
- Staff lockers and work room
- community room with catering kitchen
- classroom style or banquet style tables
- doubles as a storm shelter
- (Spring 2020) new park space with a story book walk and play equipment
The total project is fully funded at $7.4 million: $4.2 million from sales taxes, $2 million from grants, almost $500,000 from individual donors, $250,000 from the Friends of the Crete Public Library and $150,000 from local corporations. (View photo galleries of the construction process.)
A sales tax increase of one-half percent was approved by Crete voters in 2016 to provide for the new library and adjoining community room/storm shelter; funds were also anticipated towards community safety initiatives in the form of two new police officers.
The old library at 305 East 13th Street was built in 1915 with a gift from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation; an addition was constructed in 1985. A feasibility study deemed the structure to have accessibility issues for both people and technology, space limitations for growing programming needs, and maintenance concerns. The library and associated programs host nearly 10,000 visits annually by patrons who access print and digital resources and many programs are held off-site in larger venues.
The City Council has approved an agreement to demolish the old library building while future plans for the space remain under consideration.
New library and community room project timeline:
1949-1952 - Crete Municipal Hospital and additions completed
2003 - new Crete Area Medial Center completed on Betten Drive on the east edge of Crete
2003-2016 - Tabitha of Crete occupies old hospital for long term and assisted living facility
2016 - City of Crete acquires old hospital/former Tabitha building; Crete voters pass sales tax increase to fund new library/community room/storm shelter facility, new park, and community safety needs following library feasibility study and research
2017 - Community input meetings held on library and community room/storm shelter design
2017 - December - Two new Crete Police officers hired using funds generated from sales tax increase to be used for community safety
2018 - January - demolition of old hospital building begins
2018 - March & June - input meetings held on proposed building layout and design
2018 - August - City Council accepts Sampson Construction bid for the new library
2018 - September - New library groundbreaking held
2019 - July - library and community room project is fully funded with additional grants and donations
2020 - January 13-29 - old library closes for the move; Opening Day, Jan. 30
2020 - Spring - completion of new park space and story walk
Crete Public Library
1515 Forest Ave.
Crete, NE 68333