Library receives grant
Weyauwega expansion project now in motion
By James Card
The Weyauwega Public Library recently received a $100,000 grant from the Marilynn W. Taylor/Wohlt Cheese Fund to be used to construct a new wing addition to the building.
The funds will be paid out in three increments: $50,000 in 2023, $25,000 in 2024 and $25,000 in 2025.
The new addition will be a 30-foot by 30-foot square room that will be built in the front yard area of the library. The addition will create a U-shape at the front of the building and within that open space there will be room for outdoor benches.
The room will have three computer stations and a reading lounge area with a sofa and chairs. There will be a periodical section and a special collection of books that is yet to be determined.
Windows will wrap around the walls and the exterior will match up with the rustic look of the library.
This project has been around long before Kelly Kneisler took over as library director in 2019. There was a library trend towards creating collaborative spaces but that shifted during the pandemic: people wanted individual spaces.
“This would be an area that’s quiet, away from the desk where it gets louder, away from the kids’ computers. Adults will have their own computers. It’s a place to sit and read and sit with a friend or alone. It will have special collections – our new books or large print. There will be newspapers and magazines and things that will be conducive for someone sitting and staying awhile. It will be causal and quiet. I think we’re going to call it the Quiet Wing,” said Kneisler.
Ann Engelhard, vice president of donor services and gift planning of the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, came to a library board meeting in 2021 and explained how the grant process worked.
McMahon Associates, a Neenah-based engineering and architectural firm, did a soil test, wrote an opinion of cost and sketched out basic blueprints of the new wing.
The application was submitted in September 2022.
The next step is to meet with McMahon to develop the official blueprints so the open bidding process can get underway and also to get a better idea of the final costs.
Kneisler is reluctant to give an estimate. It could be around $250,000, plus more for furnishings. She understands the construction industry has been plagued with supply-chain volatility and inflation in building materials.
“My plan is to put these pictures [3D color illustrations of the wing] out on our TV. This is our vision for the community and we will be looking for community support. Once it is all said and done, I’m not sure how much more we will have to actually raise. I don’t think it’s going to be a lot, but if prices go up, or if it’s not going to be done until whenever, it’s hard to tell at that point,” said Kneisler.
Over the years the library has saved $90,000, kept as certificates of deposits, from donations and book sales and that would be put towards the new addition. “It’s pretty exciting to think it’s actually going to happen after so many years of thinking about it,” said Kneisler.
The Marilynn W. Taylor/Wohlt Cheese Fund also awarded grants to other organizations in Waupaca County: A $50,000 grant to Mosquito Hill Nature Center to support its capital campaign to replace indoor interpretive displays, a $40,000 challenge grant to the New London Community Fund, a permanent endowment fund to support community needs and a grant of $20,000 to Fremont Area Historical Museum for renovation and maintenance projects.
Marilynn Taylor attended the one-room Beaver Dam schoolhouse that is now the Fremont Area Historical Museum. In 1960, the Fremont Township purchased the schoolhouse to use as a town hall and in 2013, the Fremont Area Historical Society leased the building from the township to convert it into a museum and a genealogy research center.
Taylor was president of cheese manufacturer Wohlt Creamery LLC and upon her death in 2017, she left her entire business and properties to create a charitable endowment fund to support causes in the New London and Fremont areas.