McAlester News-Capital

McAlester News-Capital office

A planned expansion at the McAlester Public Library is a longtime in the making and worth the investment.

Plans for a major expansion to the library include roughly half of the $5-7 million estimated needs to complete the project already committed.

There's $3 million pledged toward the project — and we hope the rest gets funded because the expansion is great for our community.

Much of the project's estimated needs are in place. The Puterbaugh Foundation pledged $1.5 million toward the project to get the fundraising started and the Southeastern Oklahoma Library System Board of Trustees voted to match it with $1.5 million.

Southeastern Oklahoma Library System covers Pittsburg, Latimer, Haskell, LeFlore, Coal, Choctaw and McCurtain counties.

McAlester's City Council passed a resolution to support the project — and despite the action not including any commitment of funds, it was needed for the SEOLS Board to make its commitment.

"I'm excited, that's for sure," said SEOLS Executive Director Michael Hull. "This project has been talked about for so long and now we've got commitments for $3 million."

SEOLS is set to put $300,000 per year over a five-year period to match the $1.5 million Puterbaugh Foundation pledge toward the project.

But fundraising efforts continue to complete the expansion.

Plans include an outdoor balcony or veranda on the north side of the library mezzanine with another phase for extensive renovations inside the library building at 401 N. Second St.

Renovations would include new plumbing, electrical wiring and heating and air conditioning, along with all new carpeting inside the facility.

We applaud SEOLS and supporters for moving forward with the project that will benefit our community.

• McAlester News-Capital Editorial Board

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