Groundbreaking Held For Latta Library Addition


By Betsy Finklea
A groundbreaking was held on Tuesday morning at the Latta Library for the addition to the library made possible by a $2.2 million gift by Dr. Francis Marion “Frank” McMillan, III, in his will for the construction of a children and adolescent reading room.
Participating in the groundbreaking were Gayle Coleman, Dillon County Library Board member; Dorothy Gaddy Bethea, Latta Library Foundation secretary; Vickie Graham, Dillon County Library Board member; Dixie Weatherly, Latta Librarian; Dewitt Coleman, Latta Library Foundation member; Dillon County Councilman T.F. “Buzzy” Finklea, Jr.; Latta Mayor Teresa Mason; Fred Ellis, Chairman of the Latta Library Foundation, A. LaFon LeGette, Jr., Vice-Chairman of the Latta Library Foundation; Harold Kornblut, Latta Library Foundation treasurer; and Tommy Stephens, Dillon County Library Board Chairman.
After much work to bring Dr. McMillan’s dream to reality, the work has begun.
At the Latta Rotary Club meeting which followed the groundbreaking, Fred Ellis, chairman of the Latta Library Foundation, updated the group on the progress of the project.
It has taken six years to get this project done. The library was not notified until two years after his death of the gift. Problems with the financial institution handling the trust, the death of the Library Director Yolanda McCormick, and other issues also caused delays.
The Latta Library was set up in 1913 and opened its doors in 1914 and one mill of property tax was added to any property owner in the Latta School District. This was the money that supported the library. In the 1970s each county set up a library board system to take care of any libraries in the county. After looking into it and finding out that Latta was left the building, the corporation was set up. With the help of Dillon County Councilman T.F. “Buzzy” Finklea, Jr., the county leased the building from the corporation for 99 years for $1 a year.
The plan is to take off the north wing added in the 1950s, which is two stories, and piece a 5,000 sq. ft. addition all on one level to the original building, employing the same style of architecture. There will also be a large parking area where as now there are only two parking spots. The only possible hold-ups now are delays that may come up in construction. Hunter Builders, Inc., of Sumter is the contractor.
The work is supposed to be finished in 300 days.

VIDEO: Latta Library Presentation at Latta Rotary Club Meeting, April 11, 2023

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