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DeKalb library expansion plan on target

Board director: Next step is signing state contract to get $8.5M grant

DeKALB – The DeKalb Public Library is moving toward the June deadline to raise funds for its expansion project.

Library Director Dee Coover said the library board will have $11.5 million in its accounts by the time it approaches the state to sign the contract allowing it to get an $8.5 million construction grant. However, the process is complex, Coover said.

“There are thousands of details that need to be approved,” Coover said.

To meet the $11.5 million total, the library is borrowing $2 million from local banks. But for the loan to go through, the board had to revisit the appraisal on the library’s 80-year-old building at 309 Oak St.

“That took 21 days,” Coover added.

Library officials are moving forward in other areas as well. At their Wednesday meeting, the library board listened to a presentation from the Alford Group, an Evanston-based firm that works with nonprofits on a variety of fronts, including fundraising campaigns.

“We’ll help you rekindle that cultural philanthropy,” said Don Zeilstra, vice president of the Alford Group.

If the board decides to, they could hire the Alford Group to lead the fundraising campaign for the expansion. Zeilstra said their flat fee was $35,800.

The board also heard presentations from John Bass, the executive director of gift and estate planning at Northern Illinois University, and John Biggins, the owner and president of American City Bureau, a capital campaign firm based in West Dundee.

Bass and Biggins each offered their take on things the board should and shouldn’t do when fundraising for capital campaigns.

While the library needs to raise only $2 million to pay off the loan, Coover and other library officials are hoping to raise $6 million to complete the original expansion project. In March, the project was paired down slightly to meet the state’s June deadline.

Coover said the board is in the process of hiring an owner’s representative, a person or firm that would work for the library board who would be concerned with the construction, which will add 46,000 square feet onto the building.

“They make sure everything is going smoothly,” Coover said.

Coover said the board hopes to have an owner’s representative selected by June 1, and that the representative would have a hand in hiring a construction manager for the project.

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