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Rosemount library is on schedule, on budget

A branch manager has been chosen. Final building inspections have been done and the shelves will be up within days.

Construction on the Robert Trail Library and License Center has progressed steadily and now Rosemount residents eager to use the new facility can see the end of the tunnel. The library, on schedule to open in February, looks good and with some hard work will be usable soon.

Project manager Steve Saienga said final inspection on the library occurred this week and he expects to get a certificate of occupancy approved early next week. Moving right along, he said next week crews will start installing the shelves and furniture.

Construction started on the 23,000 sq.ft. library and license center in September of 2007. The library will be located on the west side of South Robert Trail next door to the former St. Joseph's Church. The license center will take up 1,000 sq. ft. of the building and will replace the current center in Rosemount City Hall.

In addition to being on schedule Saienga said the library also has stayed on budget. The estimated cost to build the project was $5.53 million. Cost for books and furnishings is estimated at $1.45 million. Saienga said so far costs have come in at or under those numbers.

While construction crews busy themselves with the last few details of the project, Dakota County library staff busy themselves setting up the guts of Rosemount's newest center.

Leading the way is freshly hired branch manager Jamie Jurgensen, who is currently working out of the Burnhaven Library in Burnsville. Circulation services manager Geri Thostenson also will help pave the way.

Library department heads will continue interviewing people through the end of the month to fill the staff the library. Senior cluster manager Nancy Wisser said they hope to have a staff, including several full time librarians and clerical staff, hired by mid-December.

Wisser said Dakota County put out a national search for librarians. Dakota County only hires librarians with master's degrees.

Those hired will have quite the task in front of them when they start. Staff will have to sort and shelve 950 cartons of materials containing more than 45,000 items including books, periodicals and references.

"It's a fairly intensive process," said Wisser.

Dakota County hired Baker and Taylor Inc. to collect materials for the new branch. In addition, other library branches including the Farmington and Eagan libraries have saved materials in anticipation of its opening.

Already residents are clamoring to use the new facility. Wisser said the interest in the library has been unprecedented.

"It's always good to know you'll be appreciated even before you open," said Wisser.