Kids will be a big part of the new Monticello branch of the Johnson County Library once it’s built in Shawnee.
The library, to be at 22435 W. 66th St., will have a large kid’s space and story room on the first floor, as well as an outdoor walking path geared toward children.
The library will emphasize services for kids because of the large number of families in its service area in western Shawnee, said Scott Sime, project coordinator.
Construction is expected to begin on the 30,467-square-foot building in March or April of 2017. The library is the first new branch to be built as part of the property tax increase approved for the library system, parks and public transit in 2015.
Final details are being worked out, but the library will also include conference rooms throughout and a drive-through lane where patrons can pick up materials on hold. The pick-up lane is a relatively new concept that is already in use at the Blue Valley branch and is planned for the new Lenexa branch as well.
Outside the front entrance, the library will feature a walking path highlighting the library’s “6 by 6” program, with stations families can walk through. The 6 by 6 program encourages parents to build early literacy skills in their children from birth to six years old.
The Monticello branch has been talked about for almost a decade but was delayed because of the recession. Last year, the Johnson County Commission approved a three-quarter-mill property tax increase for the library that will pay for new branches and updates to existing branches. Monticello became the top priority.
The building is expected to cost $18.2 million and be open in the second half of 2018.
County officials also are making plans for the second new library, to be built at the Lenexa City Center development at 88th Terrace and Penrose Lane.
The City Center library will replace the existing Lackman branch, with a projected cost of $21.6 million. The library board hopes to have easy access to collections and innovative technologies at the Lenexa branch, where the demographics favor baby boomers and singles. The county commission recently approved architects for the project, with construction not expected to begin until later in 2017.
Another big county building project – a new courthouse and autopsy lab – also came closer to reality last week. The county commission started the wheels rolling to begin collecting an additional quarter-cent sales tax beginning April 1, 2017 and lasting 10 years.
The vote to levy the tax was a formality after the measure was approved by voters in the general election.