Date set for library opening

The pomp and circumstance surrounding the new $8.8 million Clark Pleasant library branch will come to a head March 5, when library officials are set to have a grand opening for the 17,200-square-foot building in Whiteland.

The opening will take place almost a year to the day since construction crews started work on the property. The new branch is located just east of U.S. 31, between Brier Hill Drive and Clearwater Boulevard. The building will replace the branch at 530 Tracy Road, a 10,000-square-foot office space that did not provide many of the amenities the new branch will have.

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 will close in mid-February as staff members move items to the new branch. The goal is to have patrons experience as little of a disruption as possible, so there may be a few days patrons will be able to utilize the new branch before the grand opening, said Lisa Lintner, director of the Johnson County Public Library.

“Instead of trying to staff two locations, we’re going to get the process done as soon as possible,” Lintner said. “There will be a transition time making sure the technology works and books are shelved.”

If patrons don’t want to wait until the new branch opens, they can pick up items from other Johnson County Public Library branches in Franklin, Trafalgar and White River Township, she said.

With the closing of the current Clark Pleasant branch, the building will be sold. The library will accept bids starting at $837,000 starting Jan. 10. The bidding process might last until March 11, but library officials have the ability to close bids before then if they are satisfied with a bid. After an individual or company submits a bid, they can rebid at a higher price, and all other bidders will be notified of the rebid. Bidders can also inquire about the amounts of all the other bids, Lintner said.

As all items have to be cleared from the building before it changes hands, the successful bidder cannot take possession of the 1.2-acre property until at least April 1. The library can also reject all bids if they find them insufficient. In that case, the library would engage a realtor to sell the property, she said.