The American Electric Power Foundation is donating another $250,000 to the planned major renovation and expansion of the Kanawha County Public Library System’s main library, AEP and library officials announced Monday.
Chris Beam, president of Appalachian Power, the AEP arm covering West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee, said this is atop the $500,000 AEP has already committed.
He said that money was pledged when the Kanawha system planned to build a new main library, and the donation is being rolled over to support the current plan.
That plan is to instead add about 20,000 square feet to the current main library location, at the corner of Capitol and Quarrier streets in downtown Charleston, plus add a skywalk between the building and an existing parking garage, add public meeting spaces, and more.
“It helps not only the community here, it helps us as a company,” Beam said. “It provides a well-needed resource in downtown Charleston, we don’t have to go anywhere, and also I think it helps the students that are in the Kanawha Valley. ... it will modernize and give them a new library.”
Tom Heywood, chairman of the library foundation, said the gift means the library system now has $5.3 million toward its $8 million fundraising goal.
He said $19 million was raised before the current plan came out, and the $8 million is what’s anticipated to be needed atop that $19 million to get the new plan done.
Heywood said the fundraising is still in a private phase focused on larger donors, but a public campaign will happen later this year.
“We’re close now, we really are getting close to home base at this point,” he said.