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Jane Hunt Meade and Bryan Hunt donated $5 million to the Fayetteville Public Library to help the facility complete its $50 million 82,500-SF expansion.
Hunt Meade and Hunt are the children of J.B. and Johnelle Hunt, who founded J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. of Lowell. The gift brings the library’s fundraising campaign to $12 million with the ultimate goal of $23 million; city voters approved a tax increase in 2016 to raise $27 million more.
Executive Director David Johnson said the library will name its innovation center the Hunt Family for Innovation and its outdoor courtyard will be named the Hunt Family Gathering Glade.
The innovation center will have simulation labs for construction equipment, such as backhoes, and for aviation, car and truck driving. The center will also have podcasts suites, a recording studio and a photography lab. The courtyard, which Johnson said will be larger than the Fayetteville downtown square, will have an amphitheater for concerts.
“A lot of this is for workforce development, how do we get people in a pandemic-impacted world back on their feet?” Johnson said. “The goal is to create a culture of creatives.”
Johnson said the library, which has closed during the construction, is scheduled to reopen the last week of November. There will be capacity limitations because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Johnson is eager to let people see the new library complex.
“We want to throw a big party,” Johnson said. “We want to have a celebration, but we are going to have to wait on that one. We do want to introduce people to the space.”