Another “all-too-exciting” concern emerged. Due in part to the construction boom in faraway China, the cost of building materials was soaring—structural steel costs rising 7% a month, concrete and other materials climbing steeply as well—so by the groundbreaking for the new building in 2006, preliminary cost estimates received in 2005 were seriously low. While the Friends of the Library, as well as the Junior Friends, worked to gather local contributions, the Board applied for several grants. With generous support from Colorado’s Energy Impact Fund, the Gates Family Foundation, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Boettcher Foundation, El Pomar Foundation, Ballantine Family Foundation, and La Plata Electric Association, all of which recognized the taxpayers’ and the town’s initial contributions (totalling close to $3 million), we were able to bridge the gap and complete the new building on time and just under budget.
As construction proceeded, so did the community’s excitement. In the months following the Library’s move to its temporary quarters, the number of library cardholders grew from just over 2,000 to 2,500, a number that was to double in the coming years. To update the community and respond to questions, a pre-completion meeting was held, after which Mr. Zwisler led a tour of the almost-completed building, which was received with enthusiasm.