Pima County says architects are preparing their final drawings as Sahuarita's long-awaited library moves closer to reality.
The county originally planned to open the library last summer but delays pushed the project back.
Pima County Public Library Community Relations Manager Holly Schaffer said the county anticipates the project will be finished in late 2020. A more firm time frame will be included in solicitation documents, she said.
Sahuarita's current library operates out of a 2,000-square-foot modular building behind the U.S. Post Office on property leased from Rancho Sahuarita for $1 per year.
Pima County opened the Sahuarita "Express" Library in January 2009, as a temporary facility. A new library was among the requests in a 2015 Pima County bond proposal overwhelmingly rejected by voters.
The planned 20,000-square-foot Sahuarita Regional Library will be off Sahuarita Road, east of the Fry's gas station, where a baseball field once stood. The county purchased that land from Sahuarita Unified School District for about $620,000 in 2018. Sahuarita's library would be more than 6,000-square-feet larger than the Joyner-Green Valley Library.
Pima County Deputy Director of Support Services Michelle Simon said the bid process for contractors should begin by the end of the month as architects Line and Space, LLC, prepare final documents.
"A complete program summary, scope of services, time frame for construction and set of drawings will be available through the County Procurement web page at that time," she said. "The solicitation bid process will take 3 to 4 months to be completed. PCPL is very excited about the new location for our Sahuarita Library."
Simon said the new library would help to meet the needs of the growing community with an expanded facility, technology and services. The Green Valley News previously reported Simon said uncertainty about the new library's permanent location was behind the delays.
Assistant Town Manager Teri Bankhead said the town is excited and waiting for the library to open to residents.
"The county has had to work through and do all of their drawings and permits, and we're waiting to receive everything so we can start the review," she said.
The county is working with SUSD on access issues since the entrance is on the school district's road that closes after school hours, Bankhead said.
Mayor Tom Murphy said libraries have done an excellent job reinventing themselves as vital gathering spaces in communities.
"I know everyone is excited; it's been in the works for years and years as a community project," he said. "I think it'll be a real positive addition to our community."
Murphy was on the board that selected the artist for the library's public art component. The Pima County Public Art Program requires capital improvement projects appropriate 1 percent of the construction budget to public art. The most recent costs estimate published in a September memo to the board was just below the $5.7 million construction budget.
The board selected Chris Lasch from Tucson to provide the library with public art. Schaffer said the county would hold a community meeting in February to gather input about the library's art.