Those driving on U.S. 31 near downtown Whiteland can catch a glimpse of the newest chapter for the Johnson County Public Library.
The structure will house thousands of books, DVDs, magazines and other library materials once it is finished. And local patrons will be able to explore it themselves in the coming months.
The $8.8 million Clark Pleasant branch of the Johnson County Public Library, years in the making, is set to open on schedule. With a projected opening date in early spring, most of the major aspects of the projects have already been completed.
The new branch building is located between Brier Hill Drive and Clearwater Boulevard in Whiteland, about 1.5 miles from the current branch.
Since groundbreaking occurred in March, construction crews from Fishers-based Meyer Najum Construction have erected the exterior of the building, including glasswork. Interior interior wall frames have also been installed, giving the 17,200-square-foot building its shape, library director Lisa Lintner said in an email.
Before residents step foot in the library, though, construction workers need to finish several significant features, including the parking lot, landscaping, interior insulation, ductwork and plumbing installation, Lintner said.
The new branch will become home to the Adult Learning Center, which will move from the Library Services Center in downtown Franklin. The new branch will also include study rooms, a robotics maker space, a dedicated area for teenagers and an Early Childhood Learning Center.
The current branch, a former 10,000-square-foot office space, did not provide enough space to fit many of those features, which library officials wanted to provide to patrons.
When the new branch opens in spring, it will be the culmination of a long, winding journey. The Johnson County Council narrowly approved the Clark-Pleasant branch with a 3-2 vote two years ago.
In January, new county council members Ron Deer and Melinda Griesemer called for a revote on the project, despite the original approval being more than a year old. They argued the council’s original vote should have included a majority of the entire seven-member council, rather than a majority of the five members who were present during the meeting. The council decided against the revote, however, as the original vote was legal, and the project was well into its design phase.
About $1.4 million for the project comes from the library’s savings, while the other $7.4 million comes from a property tax increase of 2.5 cents for every $100 of assessed value approved by the Johnson County Council in 2019. For a $250,000 home, the extra taxes amount to an estimated $32.56 annually.