Library Looks at Partnership with Campbell Schools

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County will explore a partnership with Campbell City Schools to set aside space for a library branch in the school system’s proposed Activity Recreation Cultural Center.

The library board of trustees, who have been studying merging the Campbell, Brownlee Woods and Struthers branches, voted Monday afternoon to explore the expense of forming a partnership with the Campbell schools for the space in the center.

Architect Brett Hendricks of BSHM Architects Inc., consultant for the library on the consolidation project, told the board that the Campbell branch needs extensive repairs, including a roof that should be replaced. The roof system has “significant signs of failure,” Hendricks said, noting the blisters over most of the roof area.

The architect suggested that Campbell could have a “separate solution” with the school district’s proposed center, and suggested consolidating the Brownlee Woods and Struthers branches, noted Heidi Daniel, library executive director.

Because of the condition of the roof and water is entering the building, Daniel reported that the Campbell Branch has closed temporarily as of yesterday and will remain closed.

“The issue isn’t just a roof leak, it’s a roof that is 100% saturated and failing,” Daniel reported. In addition to the safety concerns the roof poses, should nothing be done, the remainder of the building and materials housed there would suffer damage as well, she said.

Campbell Schools Superintendent Matthew Bowen presented information on the Activity Recreation Cultural Center.

In addition to space for the library, the two-phase project would include a track, basketball and volleyball courts, batting cages, fitness center, a 600-seat auditorium and performing arts room, according to a brochure for the project. In addition to $3 million set aside, the district is raising additional funds to initiate the first phase of the project.

Hendricks said the shared space with the Campbell school system is worth considering. Campbell residents attended the meeting to show their support.

In the meantime, the library is considering an additional day at the Struthers library and providing pop-up library service in Campbell, according to a news release from the library system. Bowen said the schools are willing to work with the library on a temporary Library Express site in Campbell.

“We hope to have a full recommendation this summer,” Daniel said. “However, the report has been delayed so that the consultants can look at all site options carefully and present the best-suited option.”

In other business, the library board approved a salary of $106,000 with no benefits for Susan Merriman, whom the trustees appointed earlier this month to serve as interim director during their search for a new director to succeed Daniel. Merriman, currently retired, had served for 23 years as fiscal officer.

Daniel is leaving to become CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. Daniel will leave her post July 21 and join the Pratt Aug. 1.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.