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Groundbreaking for new library

A groundbreaking ceremony for Falcon’s long-awaited library was held Nov. 12 at its new site – the corner of Old Meridian Road and Highway 24. The new library is next door to Farmers State Bank, which donated the land for the building.Shovels in hand, Joan Lawson, Farmers State Bank president, and her parents John and Dorothy Pieper; Terri Hobbs, president of the Eastern Plains Chamber of Commerce; Falcon School District 49 superintendent Brad Schoeppey; and Jeannie Berens of the Falcon Garden Club were among the first to break ground.Because the library serves all of eastern El Paso County, such as Peyton, Calhan and Rush, they named it the High Prairie Branch Library, said Paula Miller, executive director of the Pikes Peak Library District.Construction is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2010, Miller said.GH Phipps is the contractor for the project, with GE Johnson Construction Co. representing the library to oversee the project.”Little did we know back in 1995 when we purchased the land, we would all be here today, breaking ground on a new library in Falcon, Colo. How cool is that?” Lawson said.The 6,000-square-foot building has a construction budget of $1.43 million and will be expandable to 15,000 square feet as the area grows.The building is the library’s “very first green facility ever,” Miller said. Environmentally friendly features include xeriscaping, countertops made from recycled materials, geothermal heating and cooling and architecture designed to enhance natural lighting. The timber came from Colorado’s pine-beetle damaged trees.The building will house a collection of 14,000 items. It is equipped with wireless technology and 10 computers for public use. The new library will house a teen area, study rooms, a children’s area, exhibit space and a community meeting room.Robert Hilbert, president of the PPLD board of trustees, said the district has wanted to build a library in Falcon for quite some time.He credited Farmers State Bank’s donation of land valued at $608,000 as the catalyst that “really got the ball rolling.”Construction will be funded by a $750,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program and a $500,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Hilbert said.”We also received donations from Mountain View Electric’s Round-up Fund, the Boettcher Foundation and many other individuals and organizations that have chipped away at the total to get us to arrive at this point, and to all of those, both small and large, we want to say ‘thank you,'” he said.Miller also honored Falcon School District 49, which issued a challenge to students to help raise money for the library.Woodmen Hills Elementary School raised the most – more than $500, she said. However, more than $100,000 is still needed for furniture, shelving and computers, she added.Anyone interested in donating or joining the Friends of the Library group that has already been formed in Falcon should contact Dolores Fowler, executive officer of the PPLD Foundation, at 719-531-6333, ext. 2205.”We trust this community asset will be something for years to come for you to enjoy, for your families to enjoy, and your family’s families,” Hilbert said. “We plan on being here for a long time.”

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