Guymon breaks ground on more than $12 million in city buildings

Artist renderings of the new library in Guymon

It's a new day for the City of Guymon.

Residents will soon see a new fire station, a new animal shelter and a new library. The City broke ground on the three new facilities Tuesday afternoon.

A new city building had not been built in more than 30 years, City Manager Ted Graham said.

"I think this is one of those things you'll look back in history and go 'wow,' they really got that done," Graham said. "It's an incredible thing we're building 55,000 square feet of public buildings."

The total cost of the new projects is estimated at being more than $12 million, funded through an increase in sales tax, grants from the USDA and donations from families like the Nash family. The sales tax increase was first approved by Guymon voters in 2007.

All three buildings were designed to be state-of-art and fulfill the needs of the growing community. Texas County and Guymon are among the fastest growing places in Oklahoma, officials said.

Dozens gathered Tuesday afternoon for the groundbreaking ceremony that included a water salute from the fire department.

Oklahoma Lt. Governor Todd Lamb said the buildings were much-needed for the community.

"It's a great day for Guymon and the rest of Oklahoma," Lamb said.

Plans for the buildings go back as far as six years because of a few obstacles, including working with an unlicensed architect.

"It's a long time coming," Graham said.

The current public library is severely overcrowded and also poses a health risk with mold in the basement. Additionally, problems with the air conditioner have made conditions uncomfortable in the past.

Residents of the small community of about 12,000 people seemed to be thrilled about the new projects.

"I love to read and I'm a very good reader," said 11-year-old Sarah Bellew. "The old library, I think, needs to be expanded because I've read most of the books there and I'd like to read more."

The new library will be much larger with much more technology for the entire community to use. That building will be near Oklahoma Street and 16th.

"The new library is going to be absolutely amazing," said Sheila Bellew, Library Board member. "There's going to be space for programming, not only for the children, but for adults."

The USDA announced at Tuesday's ceremony that the City was the recipient of grants totaling more than $4 million.

As for the current fire station, it's also overcrowded and does not meet the needs of the city because of its location.

The new station will be on the north-central side of town. Now both fire stations will be able to access fires more promptly, Fire Chief Clark Purdy said.

A new museum-like feature will be included in the new fire station. It will host one of the first fire trucks the department owned.

The animal shelter will be rebuilt near to its current site, just north of the city.

Benji Fuentes of Animal Control said the current shelter does not adequately host the number of animals they pick up. Because of that, animals have to be euthanized more often.

He said the building does not meet the needs of the community that has significantly grown in the last few decades.

The new facilities are expected to be complete in a little more than a year. The City is currently in discussions on what to do with the old buildings.