Work has officially begun on the Vermillion Public Library expansion project.
"They poured the western part of the basement this morning, the concrete walls," library director Jane Larson said at Monday's Vermillion City Council meeting. "It's great to see the progress."
Not only that, all the money required for the project now has been raised.
After the funds were raised for the actual construction and expansion, another $200,000 remained for furnishings.
Roger Kozak and Jerry Johnson were brought in by the library to spearhead fundraising, and were assisted by a group of 15 to 20 volunteers, they told the city council.
"We have $170,546 cash received to date, and there is $47,940 in pledges that I'm confident are solid. I don't think we're going to lose a dollar out of those pledges," Kozak said.
Gifts ranged from $10 all the way up to $27,500, he added.
"I took a great deal of pride going down the list of those who provided gifts to the library," Johnson said. "I was amazed at the number of those that were reasonably small – $10, $25 – and you knew that there were those that, frankly, couldn't afford it. But they wanted to support your library."
Kozak said that 184 officially gifts were received toward the project, although he added that this number is an understatement "because we have different groups that worked on raising funds. … There are numerous individuals out there that literally will remain anonymous, but their generosity is helping the library."
For example, Sanford Vermillion is selling cookbooks, with funds going to the project.
Another group is raffling a quilt, and local school kids put their own fundraiser together, Kozak said.
"We had a tremendous response from the community, both from the individuals and from Main Street," he said.
Johnson and Kozak said that when the fundraising package was put together, they wanted to provide individual donors with an incentive to donate.
"This will be in the form of a bronze plaque that will be somewhere in the entryway or somewhere in the library," Kozak said. "We're in the process now of verifying names of individuals, because the last thing you want to do is pour a bronze plaque and have someone's name other than how they would like to see it."
The proposed expansion project will include adding more than 11,000 square feet of space between a proposed first floor and basement addition north of the current building.
An additional 780 square feet of space will be added on the south end.
The city council awarded the bid for the project to Welfl Construction of Yankton earlier this year.
Last year the city council had appropriated $1.4 million in second penny money, a Community Development Block Grant that brought in approximately $192,500 and Edith Seigrist, a longtime University of South Dakota library science professor had donated $800,000 toward the project before she passed away in July 2011.
"I really thank you and the Library Board, and also the Library Foundation for all the work that's gone into (the project)," said Mayor Jack Powell. "I would also like to thank our council and the management of our council for coming up with the $1.4 million to get it started.
"And we wouldn't be here without the generosity of Edith. That goes without saying," he said.