Vermillion honors Siegrist by renaming city library

By Travis Gulbrandson

The Vermillion Public Library has been renamed to honor one of its primary beneficiaries.

It was christened the Edith B. Siegrist Public Library by the Vermillion City council during their regular meeting Monday night.

A longtime University of South Dakota library science professor, Siegrist donated $800,000 toward the project to expand and renovate the library before she passed away in 2011.

A request to change the name was placed both by the Vermillion Public Library Board and the Vermillion Public Library Foundation in a letter addressed to Mayor Jack Powell and the city council members.

“Without the contribution of Edith B. Siegrist, the addition to the Vermillion Public Library and the renovation of the existing space would not have happened in the manner it has,” the letter said. “Her generous gift made possible the work which is now approaching completion.”

City Manager John Prescott said the renaming of the library was not the result of anything Siegrist herself requested.

“She wrote a very nice letter that was presented to the mayor when she made the initial donation, and that was not a stipulation she in any way made,” he said. “It was suggested to her, and I think … it probably took her aback a little bit, because that’s not what she sought.”

Funding for the project’s $2.4 million construction contract, architectural services and related costs came from $1.4 million of second-penny sales tax money, a $200,000 Community Development Block Grant award, library board funds and Siegrist’s gift.

An additional $200,000 for furnishings was raised by the Library Foundation.

Jon Flanagin, president of the library board, expressed gratitude to everyone for their contributions.

“On behalf of the board of trustees and the foundation, we say thank you,” he said.

The library project is now in its final month, with the contracted completion date listed as April 1.

Prescott said the library will be closed the last week of March through the first week of April while the project is completed.

“The contractor will be completing the work in the existing space, and then staff will be helping to move the stacks and other items to their appropriate places in the new renovated space,” he said.

Flanagin encouraged everyone to pay a visit when the project is completed.

“It is going to be beautiful when it is all done,” he said.

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