An extension of a $20 million state grant to build a downtown library will depend on more information about the proposal to place a 300-student high school on two floors of the planned main library.

California State Librarian Susan Hildreth said in a letter sent to Mayor Jerry Sanders on Wednesday that the money is essentially on hold until the city provides more information about the proposed collaboration with the school district.

The letter states:

Although I will not take any action to jeopardize your grant immediately, I cannot offer an extension at this time. Even though the proposal to house a high school in the new Main Library sounds promising, the proposal is very preliminary. An extension will depend on concrete evidence of an agreement to implement a well defined proposal by the governing bodies involved.

Specifically, Hildreth is looking for a revised project budget, including any alterations that might be necessary because of the different building requirements for schools. She’s also seeking detail about the amount of private and school district funds that would go into the project, as well as a revised timetable that would reflect additional vetting that the library might have to undergo by including a school in the nine-story building.

Hildreth wants the information by Feb. 1. The school board and City Council are expected to vote in January on preliminary agreements regarding the schoobrary, according to a letter sent last week by Sanders and school board President Sheila Jackson seeking an extension of the grant.

Staff members from the state librarian’s office will attend a Jan. 8 meeting in San Diego to learn more details of the proposal. Hildreth says in the letter that she hopes the library project “moves forward” and that the project is “completed successfully.”


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