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Georgetown County funds finance library plans

Plans for a new 26,000-square-foot Waccamaw Library are moving forward.

The Georgetown County Council approved giving the Friends of the Waccamaw Library $75,000 from its capital improvement fund to go toward a $2.6 million fundraising campaign.

The $75,000 will be used as seed money for the group to move forward on selecting an architectural rendering of the proposed building, hiring a fundraising manager, and producing brochures and promotional materials.

The group hopes to raise the funds in the next two years. The entire project is expected to cost $6 million, with the remaining funds coming from the county, said Georgetown County Library Director Dwight McInvaill.

"This is exciting; now we can start things in earnest," said Jean Cross, campaign organizer for the Friends of the Library.

The group has four proposals from four architectural firms and hopes to select one by the end of February, she said.

"In order to appeal to a broader base of donors we need architectural drawings," Cross said. "We need some concrete items so people can see what they're donating to."

The library is expected to be a two-story building and will be near the Waccamaw Intermediate School. Construction is expected to start in 2012 or 2013 and be completed by 2014 or 2015.

The existing 20-year old library sits further up on the Waccamaw Neck in Pawleys Island on 24 Commerce Lane.

"We are really looking forward to making this a cultural center as well," Cross said.

Plans are also moving forward on the addition for the Andrews Library, after some delay.

The addition, which was expected to add some new computers, community meeting space and adult literacy center was originally expected to be completed in 2009.

The plans were delayed after the library decided to wait on about $500,000 in community block development grants from the S.C. Department of Commerce.

The funds have now been awarded and as a result, Andrews will wind up with a 10,000-square-foot facility instead of a 5,000 square foot building, McInvaill said.

The expanded library is expected to open in July.

He said this would help the county to improve its illiteracy rate, which is currently 30 percent.

This library will also be the first library in Georgetown County to have a formal agreement with the Georgetown County School District for literacy programming, McInvaill said.

The county will be responsible for providing utilities and internet to the Literacy Wing while the district provides personnel to staff the area and long-range of literacy services and classes, under a memorandum of understanding the County Council approved Tuesday.

"I'm really excited," said Councilman Austin Beard, who represents part of Andrews.

"Obviously I think it's warranted. I'm amazed every time I go by there. The parking lot is full. People are really using it. I think it's going to be a bright spot for the community."