Fayetteville Public Library Board to offer $2 million for City Hospital property

The City Hospital property is located at 221 S. School Ave., just south of the Fayetteville Public Library.

Photo by Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer

Fayetteville Public Library Board members on Monday voted to offer $2 million to Washington Regional Medical Center for the City Hospital property as part of a longterm expansion plan.

The board formed a committee of president Kim Agee, library director David Johnson, accountant Stephen Davis, and attorney Vince Chadick to negotiate the deal for the 4.19-acre tract just south of the library.

David Johnson, executive director of the Fayetteville Public Library, looks south toward the City Hospital property last fall.

Staff photo

An appraisal commissioned this month by the library valued the property at $3.29 million, but Johnson said he believes the $2 million price is fair.

“It’s a closed bid, so I don’t know what the other offers are,” Johnson said. “But I did have some folks council me on this, and our offer takes into account what we know about the property.”

Johnson said the old hospital building is in poor condition and would need to be demolished before the land could be put to use.

Johnson has been eyeing the property for future library expansion since medical center officials announced the closure of the hospital last fall.

“We’re filling this library up pretty quickly,” he told the Flyer in August. “We’re running out of room for our collections, and our labs are full from the time we open until the time we close.”

The board’s 2030 Master Plan calls for adding at least 80,000 square feet to the library’s 88,000-square-foot campus.

Johnson said the current footprint could be expanded by about 36,000 square feet, but that’s simply not enough space for the added services he envisions at the library.

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Staff graphic

Some of the things Johnson would like to see include additional space for special events, a 750-seat multipurpose public auditorium, an expanded children’s area, a new young adults section and public “maker spaces” stocked with 3D printers, video editing software, and music studio equipment.

Washington Regional Medical Center acquired the property from the city in 2011 in exchange for land needed to construct a roundabout at Northhills Boulevard and Futrall Drive.

If a deal is struck, the property would return to Fayetteville ownership, clearing the way for the library expansion. A separate capital campaign would likely follow to help raise funds for construction.

Johnson said as of late Tuesday afternoon, he had not yet heard back from medical center administrators about the board’s offer.