Library Branch Renovations Included In Capital Project Plan

OCEAN CITY – As construction continues on the new Berlin branch, officials with the Worcester County Library are looking at future capital improvement projects.

At last week’s meeting of the Worcester County Library Board of Trustees, Director Jennifer Ranck briefed members on project requests that were recently submitted in a capital improvement plan (CIP) to the county.

Among those requests are refurbishment projects at the Pocomoke and Snow Hill branches.

“Every year the county asks us department heads to complete a capital improvement plan,” she said. “It’s to alert them of projects estimated over $500,000. I added Pocomoke and I actually ended up adding Snow Hill as well.”

Ranck said her decision to add both branches to the CIP stemmed from a study completed four years ago.

“Back in 2013 the Worcester County Library completed a facilities master study,” she said. “We had engineers come out and look at all the buildings and kind of identify priorities for projects.”

Ranck said the first priority was to replace the Berlin branch with a larger facility, which is currently under construction on Harrison Avenue. The next priority, she said, is to update the Pocomoke branch.

“They had an addition put on in 2004, which definitely gave them more space, but a lot of the building systems weren’t replaced and a lot of the furnishings were reused,” she said. “I think it’s time for a refresh so I did put in a request for that.”

Ranck said she requested that updates be made to the Pocomoke branch in fiscal year 2020 in order to apply for state capital grant funding.

“I believe this project would be eligible for 50 percent (funding),” she said. “Whether or not we get it remains to be seen.”

Board President Ron Cascio asked about improvements to the Pocomoke branch.

“What did you want to do to Pocomoke?” he said.

Ranck told Cascio she would like to see the Pocomoke branch receive a new roof, energy efficient lighting, new flooring and new furniture.

“I was trying to group a lot of these projects together,” she said. “I also think Pocomoke needs new flooring and new furnishings. I don’t want to go out and get new flooring and new furnishings when we have a leaky air conditioning unit that’s going to ruin the new floor.”

Ranck added that she would also like to see the library’s layout change.

“We tried to do mini projects there to keep the place as fresh as possible,” she said. “Like I said, I don’t think we necessarily need more space there. I think we need a reallocation of space.”

Ranck told the board she had also requested updates at the Snow Hill library for fiscal year 2023.

“A lot of building systems are original,” she said.

While the library’s requests were submitted on Monday, Ranck said the Pocomoke and Snow Hill projects might not top the county’s priority list.

“When you get your memo from the county, they are clear this is a planning document and they have to evaluate all the projects,” she said. “I just know about what is going on at the library. I don’t know what the roads department needs. I don’t know what the schools need and that sort of thing.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

Alternative Text

Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.