The Pasco County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) has okayed $1 million for the design of Wesley Chapel’s second library.
The consent item sailed through with barely a discussion at the BCC meeting on Dec. 8.
The roughly 20,000-sq.-ft. library is expected to be built in front of Seven Oaks Elementary, off of Mystic Oaks Blvd., inside the Seven Oaks community. The land already is owned by Pasco County and was set aside in 2014 as part of the development agreement for the Seven Oaks DRI with the intention that it would one day house a Pasco County library.
“I think this is a huge deal,” says District 2 County Commissioner Mike Moore, who represents much of Wesley Chapel and is a Seven Oaks resident. “This is the fastest-growing area of Pasco County, and when you have more residents, you have more needs.”
Wesley Chapel’s only existing library — the New River Branch Library on S.R. 54 near Zephyrhills — although it has been closed for the past year while undergoing a major renovation.
Moore said the designer of the new library should be chosen by summer 2021, but the construction bidding process and permitting ensures the library won’t be finished until late 2024, or early 2025.
Moore has said the whole project could cost roughly $10 million.
“This will be a lot more convenient (for many Wesley Chapel residents),” Moore says. “The needs of the community have changed. It’s not just about books. It’s also about the ‘maker spaces,’ meeting rooms and a safe place for kids to congregate, whether they are reading a book or on a computer. This won’t be your old school library.”
Pasco County Libraries has put a lot of effort into reimagining their existing libraries. The New River Branch Library is getting an improved community garden and covered learning space, while others have woodworking and sewing workshops, music studios and even a robotics lab.
“It’s way too early to say what this new one will have,” Moore says. “It might be a new technology that hasn’t even been invented yet. A lot can happen in three years.”