Jane Hunt Meade / Courtesy photo
The Hunt family has donated $5 million to the Fayetteville Public Library’s expansion project.
The gift was announced Tuesday by Jane Hunt Meade and Bryan Hunt, whose parents J.B. and Johnelle founded J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc.
Library officials said Jane and Bryan toured the library’s expansion site last week and were both “instantly invested in the project.”
It’s the largest single donation in the library’s history. Jim Blair gave $2 million for the expansion project in 2019, and also made a $3 million donation for the original facility, which opened in 2004.
The Hunt money will go towards naming the library’s new Center for Innovation and the Gathering Glade courtyard.
“We are grateful to the Hunt Family for their generosity, and we are excited to show the community what was made possible with their gift,” said David Johnson, the library’s executive director. “With the kindness of residents like the Hunt family, we know that our expanded library building will become a touchstone of the Northwest Arkansas region.”
The expansion is set to open in early December, and will add over 82,500 square feet to the library.
The new facility will include several amenities. Among them, the project will double the size of the youth services area, add an audio/video recording studio, virtual reality room, photography studio, a simulation lab, a 700 seat multipurpose center, an outdoor courtyard, meeting and collaboration space, and more.
Fayetteville voters in 2016 approved a millage increase that will provide about $26.5 million for the expansion. The measure passed 59 percent to 41 percent. The library’s 1-mill property tax was then increased to 3.7 mills. 1.2 mills was allocated for construction bonds and 1.5 mills will be used for operating costs. Once the construction bonds are paid off, the tax will be lowered to 2.5 mills.
For more information about the expansion, visit beyondwordsfpl.org.