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Newport Library Eligible for State Funds


A school library fund-raising campaign in Newport Beach that started with children selling lemonade topped $1 million this week, making the city eligible for state funds.

The facility at Mariners Elementary School would be shared by children and adults. A $500,000 gift from John and Donna Crean boosted community donations over $1 million, which means the city can apply for a $2-million state bond. John Crean is chief executive of Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., best known for its manufactured housing and recreational vehicles.

Newport-Mesa Unified School District officials changed the design after parents expressed concerns about children mingling with adult patrons of the library.

Susan Friend, who has four children at Mariners, said, "They made some design changes to alleviate some of the safety concerns." Among the changes is a movable glass wall that will separate students from the public during school hours.

Richard Hall, the state's Library Bond Act manager, said he expects about 100 applications for projects this year, the first for the funding. The average cost is about $5 million, he said, making the Newport Beach request a modest one.

The bonds are distributed on a need basis, he said, and joint-use projects receive priority.

The board also takes into account the condition of the existing library and improvement of community services.

Newport-Mesa has made an effort to ensure safety in designing the one-story, 14,000-square-foot library, said Patrick Bartolic, chairman of the Newport Beach Board of Library Trustees. In addition to the glass wall, there will be security cameras and additional staff.

The fund-raising campaign began three months ago. The next step is for the City Council and school district board to approve the design. Both panels are scheduled to review the proposal Tuesday. The application deadline for the state grants is Friday.

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