As the city of Bee Cave narrows in on a design plan for its new public library, city staff estimate the project could cost $10 million more than originally expected.

With an updated price tag of $25 million, voters could see a general obligation bond on the ballot in November.

The rundown

At a May 14 City Council meeting, members of Bee Cave's Capital Improvement Projects subcommittee presented a report detailing the design plans for the new Bee Cave Public Library and explaining the background of the project.

With about 72,000 visitors a year and over 200 programs, the BCPL at the Hill Country Galleria has outgrown its 7,000-square-foot space, according to the presentation.

In 2021, city leaders approved the Capital Improvements Plan, which outlined the intent to create the new, larger library for $15 million.

However, after accounting for pandemic-related delays, supply chain issues and inflation challenges, the CIP subcommittee determined the total cost of construction and site plan development will be $25 million, according to the report.

"We got the itemized list of what is being incorporated [in the library] in April. We started trying to get the cost down, but we still have more to go," Mayor Kara King said at the meeting.

The maximum cost of construction is not set until a construction bid is signed, so the $25 million price is not final, City Manager Julie Oakley said.

The impact

According to the presentation, the project will require a general obligation bond in November for funding.

Council member Jon Cobb expressed concerns about whether voters would have the appetite for the bond without the city prioritizing road projects within the CIP first.

"What good does it do if we build a library and we can't get to it? I think we need to look at the capital improvements as a whole, and then we need to take that to the voters," Cobb said.

Oakley said the road projects in the CIP are more complicated than the library from a procedural standpoint because they require many stages of analysis, approval and land acquisition.

Regardless, the CIP will be revised sometime in July to determine what projects are no longer relevant and to identify priorities, Oakley said.

Bee Cave’s Financial Advisor Chris Lane said a property tax increase would not be necessary to fund the library project because of the city's sales tax collection.

The design

The new 25,500-square-foot building will have a "garden library" design with multiple outdoor seating and play areas connected to Bee Cave Central Park, according to the presentation.

Additionally, there will be group and individual study rooms, children's story time areas and meeting spaces.

The final design will be completed by the summer.

What's next

Two open house events will be held at an undetermined date in the summer for the community to provide design feedback and ask questions, according to the presentation.

If a general obligation bond was selected to fund the project, council would hear the ballot language sometime in August.

The following project timeline was given at the meeting as well:
  • Groundbreaking: first quarter of 2025
  • Construction time: 15 months
  • Opening: second quarter of 2026