Conceptual Designs For New Pocomoke Library Reviewed

Conceptual Designs For New Pocomoke Library Reviewed
The 6,700-square-foot Pocomoke branch of the Worcester County Library is pictured. File Photo by Bethany Hooper

POCOMOKE – Officials with the Worcester County Library this week got their first glimpse of conceptual designs for a proposed addition to the Pocomoke branch.

On Tuesday, Jeff Schoellkopf of The Design Group presented the Worcester County Library Board of Trustees with two preliminary designs for an addition to the Pocomoke branch.

“Right now, we are under a small service contract to help do the planning so the work we are doing is not fully the design …,” he said. “A lot of this is advancing ideas far enough forward to get some sense of what’s needed and what’s possible and to get some sense of what budget we might need.”

Schoellkopf said the two designs addressed deficiencies that were first identified in a 2013 study of the library.

“The study that came out in 2013 identified certain deficiencies, certain qualities of the space and this idea of growth of the area and population served,” he said. “I think it was asking for a 4,000-square-foot addition.”

Library Director Jennifer Ranck noted the designs presented on Tuesday was the first step in creating a more comprehensive plan for the library, which is currently 6,700 square feet.

“We would like to build this branch out, ideally an additional 4,000 square feet,” she said. “I don’t know if the county will approve that, but I think that would give us flexibility and additional meeting space and space for the children’s area, which I think is the jewel of any library.”

The first conceptual design, labeled Scheme 1, features a 2,400-square-foot addition behind the existing library. The space includes a new, larger section for children, while the existing structure would be reconfigured to include additional meeting rooms and bathrooms, a teen section and a multi-purpose area.

“It’s sort of a blank canvas where you can do anything in,” Ranck said.

The second conceptual design, labeled Scheme 2, features a 4,200-square-foot addition behind the existing library. A large meeting room and foyer would be moved to the new space, while the existing building will include a new children’s section, teen space, restrooms, meeting rooms and more.

“In the larger scheme it’s about 2,000 square feet less than the Berlin library and in the smaller scheme it’s about 3,000 square feet less than the Berlin library,” Schoellkopf said, noting that both libraries served roughly the same number of residents. “You can make a pretty good argument for trying to be similar [to Berlin].”

Schoellkopf noted that both design plans called for outdoor or transitional space, vestibules, a new circulation desk between the front and rear entrances and a new exterior design. The Pocomoke project would also include new heating and air conditioning systems, double-pane windows, and roof.

“It’s in its last couple of years,” he said.

Ranck said $120,000 has been added in the governor’s budget for the Pocomoke addition, but that budget has yet to be approved by the state legislature. She explained she would bring plans to the Worcester County Commissioners once a final state budget is adopted.

“The governor did put $120,000 into the state budget, which the county would match, to move us into design …,” she said. “With those monies, if approved by the state legislature and the county commissioners, we can move into full design as early as July of this year.”

For those at the Pocomoke branch, the possible addition is a welcomed idea. Branch Manager Dawn Mackes noted the growing patronage, the nonexistent teen section and demand for the library’s sole meeting room.

“We’ve been turning people away,” she said.

Board member Nancy Howard applauded the conceptual designs.

“This end of the county has always needed some assistance and what better way to reach out to people than to have a wonderful gathering place,” she said.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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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.