Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office announced Friday, Feb. 2, the Washington County Public Library will receive nearly $4 million to expand their existing facility.

The grant cost is $3,997,816. It will go towards expanding the Chipley Branch by 6,400 square feet. 

Of that, 2,600 square feet will be added to the west side of the existing structure for a multi-purpose space and the remaining 3,800 square feet will be used to expand the east side of the building for additional children’s space and on the north side to allow for staff and storage space.

“The expansion will include a large multi-purpose room that can serve several functions including a classroom, computer lab, community meeting room, and library program room for educational offerings,” the announcement said. “The project will allow the library to reconfigure the current space to include quiet study rooms that can be used for telehealth activities and other private meeting needs.”

Library representatives applied for the grant last year. The entire project will have a required completion date of December 31, 2026.

The grant is part of Multipurpose Community Facilities Projects Program Awards administered through the State of Florida Office of Broadband. 

“Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, Florida’s economy has grown at a persistent pace. Today’s strategic awards help maintain Florida’s forward momentum,” FloridaCommerce Secretary J. Alex Kelly said. “By connecting Floridians with centrally located community hubs, residents have increased access to find their next professional opportunity, upskill for future jobs and access telemedicine resources through a steady broadband internet connection.”

Diane Moore contributed to this report.