It's pronounced: mon–tih–sell–oh

First things first: it’s [mon–tih–sell–oh]. We know – that’s not how Thomas Jefferson might have said it. However since its founding in 1857 the Monticello township, and now the community,  have adopted the Americanized pronunciation. So have we.

SHAWNEE, WE HAVE A BUILDING. Planning’s completed, designs are approved and permits have been issued. Monticello Library is becoming a reality in Shawnee, Kansas where Shawnee Mission Parkway abuts Kansas Highway 7.

Earthwork on the 22435 W. 66th Street site started in March 2017. After the May 10 Groundbreaking Ceremony, construction actively got underway. A concrete pad was poured; a steel framework began to describe the silhouette; utilities were connected. A retaining wall was installed on the south, and the 100-space parking lot was paved by year’s end.

Monticello Library is anticipated to be “dried in,” as they say in the construction trade, in January 2017. Once the exterior of the building is closed up, work will start in earnest to finish the interiors and to make the building systems – heating, lighting, electrical – operational.

Specific planning for Monticello Library actually got underway in 2005. When the project was fully funded in early 2016, more focus groups and staff committees weighed in to assure that the new building would meet current demands and standards. Among the features that were cited by community and staff as necessary, both in 2005 and 2016:  ample meeting spaces for public use; robust wifi and other tech support; a drive-through window; dynamic children’s programming. All of these, and more, are planned for the new facility.

The need for a Monticello branch was noted in the Johnson County Library Facilities Master Plan 1990-2010. In 2000, the Library Board first requested that the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) place the Monticello facility in the annual Capital Improvement Plan (CIP); it was requested annually after that. In 2010, the County Commissioners ratified the site purchase from Bank of America, and a small donation of land from the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth augmented the footprint for parking. The BoCC approved issuance of bonds for the site purchase, and placed the project on the County CIP timeline for construction in 2015.

The economic downturn of 2008-09 caught up with the project in 2011, and the Commissioners removed this project from the County’s 2012-2016 CIP. The Library planned to provide alternative services in the area –such as storytimes and a self-service lending machine on the future Monticello site, pending future developments…

In 2015 the Library’s Board approved the 20-year Comprehensive Library Master Plan and named Monticello Library as the first implementation priority. A public funding increase was approved that year, and the project was launched. The Clark Enersen Partners of Fairway, KS was selected as the project architect, and McCownGordon Construction are serving as construction manager to bring Monticello Library to life.