Library nears date with Sparta City Council


Yesterday afternoon, from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., the Sparta Free Library held an open house, for anyone desiring a sneak peek into their expansion blue print. It was an informal gathering, where staff members from the library, as well as board members, mingled and managed any questions a curious onlooker may have. Library Director, Michelle Tryggestad was on hand, and happy with the community response.

Kevin Eipperle was standing in the center of the room and was able to answer any questions folks might have about the actual engineering or the architecture. He has been with the project since it started, back in 2015. Representing FEH Design, Eipperle says that there are currently twelve other libraries that the design company is working on; some barely past the “breaking ground” stage, while others are nearing completion.

When pressed on how FEH reacted to the big interrupter (Covid), he said “We have four locations set up in the United States, so we have always had the tools to communicate virtually, amongst ourselves; we just extended that to communicate with our clients.” He mentioned that the entire FEH crew, for the Sparta Free Library project, is out of their Dubuque, Iowa office. “Sparta is special for me,” Eipperle remarked. “My wife’s godparents live here, Al and Julia Ford. They were quite helpful in familiarizing me with Sparta and its community.”

In order for the wheels to keep spinning on this massive community effort, approval must be granted by the Sparta City Council next Wednesday night, September 14th. Michelle Tryggestad went into detail on how this project has won support from many community members, simply by involving everyone who wanted to participate, at every step of the process. “I remember when we set up different designs for people to look at and they voted by placing a yellow post it sticker by the one they liked. It was in this very room! This is 100 percent the community,” she stated.

Should the City Council grant approval for the project to keep moving forward, contract bidding will begin. “Construction documents are ready to go out for bid,” Eipperle stated. “The bids will be out for about a month, then we will share those bids, along with recommendations, with the library board and the city council.” He also stated that, because of the difficulty that most contractors are currently facing with supply chains and material availability, they (contractors) will be given flexibility to gather what they need and have everything ready to go by a date to be determined. Eipperle said that this method will save quite a bit of money for the project, by ensuring that very little delays occur.

The project, if given the nod, will start by building the addition first. Once the addition is complete, the library will move into the addition, so that renovation of the library itself, may commence. Eipperle admits that it will be a bit of a downsize when this happens. “It will take a little longer to do it this way, but it will save the effort and cost of moving into another building during the renovation.” FEH has been around since 1898,  so having all their ducks in a row should come as no surprise.  

The open house was well attended, and only one hurdle remains, the Sparta City Council’s proverbial “thumbs up.” Michelle Tryggestad is hoping for a grand turnout by the community, at the meeting, next Wednesday night. “Tell your friends, post it on social media, we hope to see as much support as we have the entire way up to this point.”    

Benny Mailman, Monroe county Herald, Sparta Free Library, Sparta City Council, FEH


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here