Holmen Village Board approves funding for new library

New $4.6 million library expected to be complete by fall of 2017

The Holmen Village Board approved the funding for a new multimillion dollar library in Holmen.

A new library is part of a three-step process to improve the Holmen community. Earlier this year, the village built a new police department. Now, they are moving onto a new library and will eventually look into adding a new community center.

One village board member said Holmen is the fastest growing community in western Wisconsin, and it’s time for the village to catch up with its residents.

On average, the Holmen Library sees about 7,000 people a month.

“We stay busy here,” said Chris McArdle Rojo, La Crosse County library director.

McArdle Rojo said the library gets even busier during the summer months, but the size of the building has had an impact on service.

“During our summer reading program, we try to host large events here, but people come in and sometimes walk right back out, because they can’t see the performer, can’t find a place to sit or even find a place to park,” said McArdle Rojo.

The aisles are narrow, they are crowded, and the books are high, and people can’t reach them,” said Doug Jorstad, a trustee on the Holmen Village Board.

It’s an issue Jorstad has known about for some time.

“This is something the board has been reviewing several times this past year, whether we would budget for it or not,” said Jorstad.

On Monday, the Holmen Village Board decided to approve the funding for a new $4.6 million library.

“This is a project that is long overdue,” said Jorstad.

The new library will be more than four times the size of the old one with a separate community room and study place.

“We hope it will bring more of a community sense to the services,” said McArdle Rojo.

But the new building does come at a cost to taxpayers.

“It would be in the area of just over $100 per household valued at $200,000,” said Jorstad.

Residents won’t see the increase on their property tax bill until 2017, but Jorstad hopes they see the benefits of a new library immediately.

“Education doesn’t stop at 12th grade. Education doesn’t stop at any one age, and I think it’s our responsibility that we provide that opportunity to everybody,” said Jorstad.

The village has already assigned $3.5 million to the new project from its 2016 budget. The remaining million will be raised through private donations and fundraising events.

The new library will be built on new land right across from the village’s new police department. Construction is scheduled to begin next August and is expected to be completed by fall of 2017.