JONESBORO — The proposed location of the county’s new administration building would mean the loss of Jonesboro’s library.

A presentation to the Clayton County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, Oct. 26, revealed both the library and the Human Resources building next to it would be razed to make way for the new three-story, 85,000-square-foot facility. The admin building would sit on the corner of Lee Street and Smith Street facing Lee Street Park.

Commissioners took issue with the loss of the library and how it was communicated to the board.

Commissioner Felicia Franklin said she found out about the proposed tear down from other mayors, calling it “unfair” when commissioners must answer to the public.

Commissioner Demont Davis questioned if a vote was ever taken to get rid of the library.

“No,” said Chief Operating Officer Derrick Stanford

Commissioner Gail Hambrick asked whether the county was looking into replacing the Jonesboro library.

Stanford said the county does not have a funding source to rebuild, but that a new library is planned for District 1 in the county. The Jonesboro branch is in District 4.

Despite the lack of funding, Commissioner Alieka Anderson asked county officials to begin looking at potential locations.

“We know libraries are important for students and the community,” she said. “We need to make sure we have somewhere to put a library.”

Franklin also said she would like the county to look further into replacing the library.

“It’s only fair to the community, and the community needs to be involved,” she said.

The Jonesboro branch was closed in December until further notice, according to a notice posted on the Clayton County Public Library site.

Buildings and Maintenance Director Ben Hopkins said the library building has had ongoing issues, including the failing of the building’s major HVAC unit.

He sited duct work issues, non-ADA compliant restrooms as well as the need for a new roof that could cost between $70,000-$80,000 to replace as reasons the building has remained closed.

New Administration Building

Hopkins said Tuesday his team has identified several county-owned land parcels within Jonesboro city limits that may work, stating the Lee and Smith streets site was selected due to the location of the new Jonesboro City Center and Broad Street development a block away.

He said he planned to come before the BOC during the Nov. 2 meeting for approval of the location only, adding that “if the board comes back and says we want another location, we will give you another location.”

As to the specifics of the new administration facility, the first floor would contain a section deemed a media center intended to replace the library. It would allow residents to pick up library books ordered via PINES and provide the use of computers.

A 300-seat, two-story auditorium would be used for commission meetings. An executive session board room and communications office would also be housed on the first floor.

The second floor would contain financial and human resources offices. The COO suite, admin staff, commissioners and the chairman’s offices and legal offices would be on the third floor. Hopkins said room has been left on the third floor to allow for future expansion.

Secured employee parking is planned behind the building. A new nearby parking deck will offer parking to visitors.

The $40 million facility was approved as part of the 2021 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax approved by voters in June 2020.

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(2) comments

Hummingbird

Battlecreek branch may be close for you but for the elementary students around the Jonesboro library or the citizens living near the Jonesboro library that don't have transportation it is not close. I could walk to the library from my job and now it takes me 20 to 30 minutes to drive to Lovejoy or Battlecreek depending on traffic. I don't see the need for a new admin complex when there is nothing wrong with the building they already have. Could it be a case of keeping up with the Jones or one upping the Jones, in this case the new Jonesboro complex? And there is the fact that they were sneaky and dishonest about it and mislead the citizens. Even some of the commissioners didn't know what was going on. Anything less then a full library is unacceptable and I already know how my commissioner is leaning so my vote will be going to someone new come election time.

Georgia Plough Boy

I don't see a problem since Library Headquarters on Battlecreek is so close. If the residents insist then include a separate entrance to a new library included within the bulding footprint. The building would have to be shifted to allow separate library parking but we're still in the planning phase to consider all options.

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