Demolition around the Missoula Public Library is underway and more than half of the $5 million goal toward a new library building has been raised through private funds. 

Library foundation director and development coordinator Karl Olson said fundraising stands at $3.6 million, and he's optimistic the goal will be reached. 

"We're really proud of what we achieved so far," Olson said. 

He added there is a soft deadline of early next year to have the money raised, and the project remains in the major donor phase of the project.

People also can donate through the Missoula Public Library website.

A 2010 feasibility assessment by OZ Architects found that the current library, built in 1974, is one-third the size it should be, given the growth of Missoula County since the library's inception, and has insufficient space for the amount of services it provides to the community.  

Missoula County voters passed a ballot measure for a $30 million library construction bond in 2016 for the library to be built next to its current location on the 400 block of East Main Street in downtown Missoula. 

The new library is planned to have five levels, including parking, and will be designed to be sustainable over many decades, according to the "All Under One Roof" capital campaign narrative. 

With property preparation begun, construction is slated to start in 2018 with hopes of having the new facility open by early 2020.

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