The Orange County Board of Commissioners moved forward with plans for a southern branch library in Carrboro and added a permanent home for the Skills Development Center to the project at 203 South Greensboro Street during its business meeting Thursday night.
In December 2017, Orange County and the Town of Carrboro signed a Development Agreement for a facility that would jointly contain administrative offices for the Town of Carrboro, spaces for The Arts Center of Carrboro, and the Orange County Southern Branch Library.
The Arts Center of Carrboro withdrew from the project, and the county and town have since discussed changes to the overall scope and space allocation within the facility. The Town has proposed adding various functions totaling approximately 6,950 square feet and is considering adding a fourth floor to the project for space as a business incubator.
Deputy Manager Travis Myren said if the town added a fourth floor, it would absorb those costs.
Adding the Skills Development Center would increase the County’s space by approximately 12,600 square feet and increase the County’s overall space allocation from 41% to 56%. The Skills Development Center is currently located at 503 West Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, but the property was included in an economic development initiative by the county earlier this year.
The county had initially budgeted $6.8 million for the project when it was approved in 2017, but the delay and need for the redesign prompted by the Arts Center’s withdrawal increased the county’s cost to $9.2 million. Adding in the Skills Development Center bumps up the cost to $15.6 million, but $3.75 million of that cost will be offset by revenue from the sale or lease of the center’s current location.
“Keeping the center in the downtown area and matching it up with the library and other spaces is a great idea,” said Penny Rich, Chair of the Orange County Board of Commissioners. “We might even see that fourth floor turn into an additional incubator space, which would be a perfect match.”
Commissioner Mark Marcoplos pointed out the location would make it easy for people to use public transit to access the career center and library.
The center will relocate to a temporary location until the project is complete, which is scheduled for summer of 2022.