Proposed plans to build sites for new libraries throughout Summerville have been presented to the County Council and to the Dorchester County Library Board over the past few days.
Future Ridgeville, Oakbrook and downtown Summerville library locations were presented by Michelle Smyth of McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture at recent board meetings.
Both the St. George and Summerville libraries were originally constructed in 1979 with some renovations taking place as long ago as 1996 for the Summerville library and 2012 for the St George library. Now, Jennifer Gleber, Branch and Public Relations Manager for the Dorchester County library, and other members of the Dorchester County Library leadership are working to revamp the local libraries.
Gleber says that library leadership saw that there was a need to expand in order to accommodate the increase in population growth and diverse needs of the community. The project plans to strategically link together communities throughout Dorchester County and better serve its residents' needs.
“The library recognized the need to move to a more community centric, 21st-century model that includes quiet study areas, public meeting rooms, and family-friendly spaces,” Gleber says.
The library is also aiming to find ways that would provide more opportunities for early literacy, test preparation, and workforce development for all ages. Proposed plans for the new libraries incorporate space outdoors,where Gleber says they hope to host storytimes, educational nature presentations, movie nights, outdoor concerts and gardening clubs.
Current location proposal for the future Ridgeville library would be along highway 78 and would be an approximately 10,000 square foot building on a 4-acre property, which will be purchased from the Dorchester Heritage Center.
An additional five acres is currently under consideration to be purchased from the Commissioners of Public Works. This land is where the 20,000-square-foot Oakbrook library, located on Bacons Bridge Road near Ashley River park, would be located.
The downtown Summerville library site location is still under review.
“The library staff is currently working closely with the architects to identify and design the interior spaces according to public and departmental needs, ” Said Robert Antill, executive director, in a press release on March 29, 2021.
Members of the library leadership are seeking feedback from the community regarding services that are important to residents in the new facilities. Public input can still be submitted through a survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/dclcommunitysurvey.
As of now, the library plans to begin construction in the fall of 2021 and for the project to be completed by the fall of 2022.