Indian Creek Library is getting a new home.
The Olathe City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to buy the vacant Hy-Vee building at 135th and Brougham in east Olathe for relocation of the library after it was significantly damaged from flooding due to a water main break. The city will pay $2.7 million for the building. The real estate company had listed the property at $3.1 million.
The popular branch, near 127th Street and Black Bob Road, has remained closed since March 3. A waterline under the foundation ruptured and flooded the building with six inches of standing water and mud that eroded the foundation’s subbase. Fortunately only about 5 percent of the library’s 81,000 items were lost, but the needed repairs to the building’s structure were costly. Estimated between $850,000 and $1.2 million, the repairs were expected to take up to six months to complete.
The city and Olathe Public Library were already planning to double the size of the Indian Creek Library to resolve capacity, overcrowding and parking issues. Rather than pay for the costly repairs and deal with the inconvenience of expanding the building, the council decided the best course of action was to buy the Hy-vee building.
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Olathe Library Advisory Board Chairman Tom Glinstra said the unfortunate situation was leading to a much better solution for library customers.
“Sometimes something good can come from something bad,” Glinstra said. “If this works out like we ultimately hope, our customers will have a much better library experience.
The new building is less than one mile from the existing Indian Creek Library and has easy access to Indian Creek Trail. At 68,000 square feet, the building will expand the library’s capacity for parking and amenities. It will also be substantially more affordable per square foot than expanding the existing library and will hopefully allow library service in east Olathe to resume more quickly than making repairs.
Olathe Library Director Emily Baker said the library staff is very excited about the relocation.
“The space is five times the size of what we’ve had,” Baker said. “So we will have plenty of space to figure out how to use it best.”
Baker said there are no plans to reopen the current library before the relocation. The next steps are inspections within 60 days to ensure the Hy-Vee building is operational and suitable for conversion into a library. Planning a timeline for renovations and moving into the space will be developed.
In the meantime, Indian Creek operations and staff will continue to operate out of the downtown branch located at 201 E. Park. Indian Creek Library serves a large portion of Olathe’s eastern residential neighborhoods. Residents can stay up to date about the relocation by checking the library’s e-newsletter and website, olathelibrary.org.