Doves were released to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new East Bend Public Library, which is the culmination of a 10-year effort to expand its facility.
White doves fluttered and flew into the bright blue sky Sunday, Nov. 6, as citizens broke ground on the East Bend Public Library.
Mary Sue Johnson, president of the East Bend Public Library Building Committee Board of Directors, welcomed the group, and she tried to express the enormous sense of gratitude the board feels for the recent outpouring of financial support for the project.
In the summer of 2001 there was a survey done that determined the library to expand in size. In June 2004 the committee was formed to raise funds for an expanded library, she said.
“In May of 2007 we received our first grant. It was $10,000,” she said. In August 2007 a fundraiser was held at Flint Hill Vineyard and money started flowing again. In January 2008 Jack and Ann Adams donated the property for the library.
Then the fund raising thermometer was erected as the community could watch as money was raised, and there was a big response from the community. Jan Hicks then got a large grant. Then in 2009 the economic meltdown hurt efforts, she said.
Building plans were drawn and the committee found the expansion would cost over $400,000, Johnson said. “You may not plan to fail, but you may fail to plan,” she said. Then fundraisers were planned.
There was a Jail and Bail event at the God & Country Celebration, mud bogs, raffle sales, barbecue suppers, walk-a-thons, auctions, car washes, events with James Norman and the fire department, cook book sales, pancake suppers, letter writing campaigns, a yard sale and more, she said.
She said the main question she has fielded is this: “When are you going to be able to break ground?”
“When we have the money,” she would tell them. Now the day has come for this 6,600-square-foot one-level brick structure, she said, as the crowd applauded.
An anonymous foundation put up a pledge and $100,000 and a matching grant until January 2011, and Reynolds American Foundation had a total contribution of $100,000.
“They demonstrated their interest in our small town as many of our citizens have been lifetime RJR employees,” Johnson said. There are not enough funds for technology and interior furnishings, so she asked that people ask others to donate.
Kevin Hennings, vice president of the building committee, also spoke. There are nine members of the board.
“A few years ago when this effort was started, it seemed like an almost impossible task to get this project planning and raise the money needed,” he said. “Yet here we are on the eve of starting construction. We always believed that this community would get behind this project and support it, and that’s exactly what you’ve done.
“Your support, financial and otherwise, has made this project possible, and I just want to say thank you,” he said. “I’d like to recognize two key members of our construction team for the project. Fuller Architecture is our architect. John Fuller is here with us today. John has done an excellent job of providing us with a beautiful, functional and economical design for our building.
“He has helped guide us through the process and designed and bidding of the project and will continue to advise us through construction of the building. Fuller Architecture is well-known in Yadkin County, having designed the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center, the Yadkinville Town Hall and the Yadkinville Police Department.
“These are all beautiful facilities, and our library will be great additions to the body of work John has done in our county. Thank you John for your hard work. You’ve really gone above and beyond in your work on our project. The other member of our team I’d like to recognize is Holden Building Company, who is our general contractor.
“Dan Holden is here, representing them today. Holden Building Company was the successful bidder from a field of 11 invited bidders on the project. They offered very competitive pricing and have the background and qualifications necessary to do an excellent job for us. Holden has recently worked together with Fuller Architecture on construction of the Troutman Public Library which was completed earlier this year.
“This is a very nice facility, similar in many ways to our project, and we’re very excited to have a team that has worked together before. Thank you Dan for your efforts, and we look forward to the very successful construction phase of our project.”
He said he would serve as the Building Committee’s representative during the construction process.
Holden was to start work Monday and move dirt this week, he added.
“The construction schedule will go pretty quick, and we should have the building completed in eight months or less,” he said. “I look forwards to seeing you all back here in the spring for our grand opening.”
The Friends of the East Bend Public Library and the East Bend Public Library Building Committee determined that the existing library building, an old store built in the early 1900s, was no longer adequate to serve the communities of East Bend, Forbush and Fall Creek.
Yadkin County Commissioner David Moxley attended the ceremony.
“It’s a great thing for this area of the county, and as a commissioner and also being on the Northwest Regional Library Board and the county library board, I had known how much work this community and all the county did to support this library. It’s a very small space that they have, and it’s going to be a great addition for the county.”
Also attending the groundbreaking was Yadkin County Commissioner Kevin Austin. “It’s been a blast watching the sign, the thermometer go up. Mary Sue reports to our board on a regular basis. But the thing I think is so amazing is that it’s all being done with private money. This and the cultural arts center was done with private money,” he said.
“It was just a blue ribbon day for the East Bend community,” said East Bend Stewart Maples. “The technology and computers will be another huge plus over and above the books and periodicals.”
Maples said the community will automatically be more attractive to companies.
John Hedrick, director of the Northwest Regional Library, said, “Oh this is fantastic. It’s sort of a dream come true. This has been talked about for years and years and years, and to see it begin, it’s just amazing. It’s going to be a great thing for the whole county as well as for the East Bend Public Library.”
The system has 13 libraries now in four counties, Alleghany, Stokes, Yadkin and Surry counties. Hedrick guessed the building would be completed by around May.
“If we have a winter like we had last year, that would certainly slow us down,” he said.
Yadkin County Commission Chairman Chad Wagoner, who also attended the event, said, “I think it’s a great day for the Town of East Bend. Two weeks ago we had a ribbon cutting for a project that was 50 years in the making. They have done this in a 10-year period of time. I applaud the citizens in the area for a job well-done.”