MARCO ISLAND — It's been a long time coming, but Marco Library's expansion with the construction of Rose Hall was ceremoniously kicked off late Thursday morning after years of planning. While the hours to the library are being cut back beginning Friday, the meeting room for the community is about to get bigger.
Rose Hall will provide an additional 4,000 square feet of meeting space and will accommodate 150 people. The $1.4 million project was made possible in large part due to Bill Rose, owner of Rose Marina on Marco Island, donating $500,000 in 2005. However Rose said the fundraising by others was even more important than his personal donation.
The building is growing while the hours are shrinking. Effective Friday, May 1, Marco Island Branch Library will be open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and closed Saturdays and Sundays.
"I was wondering if this was ever going to come," said Bill Buchanan, President of the Friends of the Library, which helped raise money for the project.
"In a perverse way, the economy helped us out because the bids came in lower allowing this to happen," Buchanan added.
City Council Chairman Rob Popoff recalled the college term paper he wrote at the Marco Library and joked that because he did well on that paper, he doesn't have to carry a shovel too often anymore.
Children from Tommie Barfield Elementary School's Morning Musicians group preformed "Knowledge is Power" to the amusement of about 60 people present at the groundbreaking ceremony.
Marco Island VFW Post 6370 members said they performed their best color guard ever and added smiles and winks in jest of their immodesty.
Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala congratulated the Island for embarking on a project that will contribute to the new hub of the Island near Heathwood Drive with the construction of the Marco Island Historical Museum next door to the library and Mackle Park.