Independence County Quorum Court told library construction to be wrapped up next week

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Bill Walmsley, chairman of the Independence County Library Board told the county’s quorum court Monday he was there to announce the end of a long journey.

Walmsley told the JPs and County Judge Robert Griffin that construction on the new library in the former Barnett Building is expected to be completed by the end of next week.

WalmsleyBill Walmsley, chairman of the Independence County Library Board, tells the quorum court that the “end of a long journey” was in sight as the new library nears completion. / Image by Bob Qualls

He also said that the court had approved a renovation budget of $2.9 million and that the total cost of construction will be under budget at $2.85 million. The cost of furnishing the library will be $200,000.

The construction cost comes out to $118 per square foot, much less than other library construction projects around the state. For instance, the library in Baxter County (Mountain Home) cost $192 per square foot.

Walmsley credited County Judge Griffin for being hands-on and attending every construction meeting. He also said the decision to use a construction manager rather than a general contractor was the right one and helped get the job done on time and under budget.

After the meeting, the JPs toured the current library then went to the new library for a tour of that facility.

In other action, the quorum court:

  • Approved the 2016 audit from the Arkansas Legislative Joint Auditing Committee;
  • Approved a request from Selina Wallis to fill two budgeted positions in the Senior Citizens Program;
  • Approved the re-appointment of Bruce Johnston and Joe Don Reynolds to the Independence County Public Health, Education and Housing Facilities Board.

The court also approved a resolution recognizing Jordan Branscum for his accomplishment of being honored as a “Famous Arkansan” by Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Developmental Disabilities Services. Branscum, 25, is one of 18 “Famous Arkansans” from across the state recognized for their drive and determination – not their disabilities. Branscum recently earned a certificate in medical billing and coding at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville. Branscum has worked at The Home Depot in Batesville for two years and has been recognized as “Employee of the Month” several times.

Jordan BranscumPictured with Jordan Branscum (center) are County Judge Robert Griffin (left) and Calvin Wright, (right), store manager of The Home Depot. / Image by Bob Qualls

Reporting by Bob Qualls

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