Kathryn Millikan sorts books at Lee County's new Oakland library branch. The new library/conference center is set to open Tuesday (Oct. 30, 2012).
LEESBURG, Ga. — One cannot blame Lee County Library Director Claire Leavy for being stressed over the past few weeks. As the Oakland Library and Conference Center edges closer to a Tuesday opening, the stress mounts.
For starters, on Thursday the automatic sliding glass doors at the main entrance of the $5.2 million, 24,812-square-foot building were not functioning properly.
"It's been a very busy time for me," Leavy said. "We'll work on the doors."
The building is divided into three sections: the 15,282-square-foot library, the 7,625-square-foot conference center and a 1,906-square-foot coffee shop.
"It is an impressive facility, but not outlandish. It's really bare-bones," Lee Library Board of Trustees Chairman Eddie Hinman said. "But it does make you stop and look at it. The biggest thing to the library board is the library itself. We have three others in the county, but none in the southern part of the county.
"People who live there have to drive to Leesburg or Redbone. This new library is right there for them."
Hinman added that the meeting facility will also be of great benefit to the county.
"This meeting facility is something the county has needed for a while," Hinman said. "Grand Island is OK for some events, but it is not adequate for all events."
The building will be officially opened at 5:30 Tuesday afternoon at a Lee County Business after Hours function.
"We are so excited; where do I start in telling you how I feel?" Lee County Chamber of Commerce Vice President Lisa Davis said. "We are already getting calls about using the facility. I see only benefits for Lee County and its citizens."
The library/conference center sits on a 7-acre tract, five and a half acres of which were purchased by the county and two and a half donated by the Oakland Partners development group.
"This new library/conference center has the potential to be the crown jewel of Lee County. We are blessed, but we hope others in the region will also use it," Davis said.
Lee County Commission Chairman Ed Duffy credited many people for helping to bring the project to fruition.
"I'd like to thank the library board of trustees for their guidance and direction in this library project," Duffy said. "I'd also like to thank Claire Leavy for her tireless dedication. I'd also like to recognize Sen. (John) Crosby, Rep. (Bob) Hanner and Rep. (Ed) Rynders for getting the project through the state legislature — especially Ed Rydners, who was the driving force in getting us $2 million in state funding."
Duffy was enthusiastic about the project, saying, "This is an excellent addition to Lee County. The Oakland Library and Conference Center will enrich the lives of the citizens of Lee County for years to come."