City Ends Williams Library Lease at Arnold Elementary as It Prepares to Move |  education

City Ends Williams Library Lease at Arnold Elementary as It Prepares to Move | education | Pro Club Bd

The Williams Branch Library will soon be packing up its books and vacating its spot at Arnold Elementary School in northwest Lincoln, but it won’t go far.

Lincoln City Libraries are terminating their lease with Lincoln Public Schools for the 2,500 square feet they have occupied in Arnold since 2009 after the district rebuilt the school north of the Arnold Heights neighborhood.

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The Williams branch will move to the new $6.5 million Air Park Rec Center in Huskerville Park, just east of the school, after construction is complete next spring, Assistant Library Director Traci Glass said.

Glass said there were “various circumstances” behind the move, including new hours and programs that the library is investigating with the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department.

Safety is an important consideration at the current location, which has limited open hours as it is associated with a school. While Williams has a separate public entrance, he is connected to Arnold’s library through shared doors that remain locked.

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“We’ve loved partnering with LPS,” Glass said, but called the move “a unique opportunity” that also creates space for LPS.

The library will occupy approximately the same area in the new 24,000 square foot facility that will replace the old Air Park Rec Center 4 miles south.

The 99-year lease, signed in 2007, expires on June 1, 2023, an approximate date for when the library will be in its new digs. But the severance agreement leaves the city free to vacate as construction of the recreation center is still ongoing, LPS operations manager Scott Wieskamp said.

LPS is currently evaluating its options on how to reuse the space in this case. Some ideas include adding classrooms to Arnold, which remains near its 790 student capacity. This autumn it is expected to be 750 students.

“We’re thinking about a lot,” said Wieskamp. “It is adjacent to our library and the building has even been designed for possible expansion and we will be looking at student enrollment.”

Because the city paid for the library’s construction and owned the premises, LPS will pay a partial reimbursement of approximately $258,000.

The Williams facility has a long history in Northwest Lincoln. The library first started in a housing authority duplex in 1973 before moving in 2009 after LPS Arnold rebuilt a few blocks south of the old school.

The city provided funds for the 97,000-square-foot school, located west of Northwest 48th Street.

While Arnold is the only school with a public library, LPS has built schools attached to recreation centers and YMCA affiliates.

Last October, the city held an open house to discuss plans for the new Air Park Rec Center, which will also feature a gym, community area and weight room.

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Contact the author at or 402-473-7225. On Twitter @HammackLJS

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