The Rolla Public Library has a new mural thanks to the hard work of student volunteers. The outdoor “pocket park” outside the library has been steadily improved after the library’s Board of Directors approved the plans to renovate the area between the main building and the children’s library.

The renovation proposal, made by local business owner Kent Bagnall, included the replacement of old broken concrete, the reconditioning and relocation of the book return box, and the painting of the mural. Bagnall said he made the proposal after seeing the library workers walk across to the previous book return box in rain and snow and decided the area could be more beneficial to the library.

For the recently completed mural, Bagnall said he made a point to get students involved, and contacted Rolla High School Art Teacher, Shannon Engelbrecht to have her summer school student use the mural as their summer project. 

“I’ve always been a supporter of the arts,” Bagnell said, adding how he strives to work with students and give them real-world experience. 

“I think it’s important for the kids to get a taste of what real life projects are like,” he said. “Whether it’s engineering or art…it takes hard work.”  

Bagnall also designed the mural, and said he designed in such a way so students would be able to help regardless of their level of artistic ability.

For a few of their volunteer sessions, the team met at dusk. Bagnall would use a project to place the image and mark where the individual lines met. They used these as guides during the day to complete the project.

“It worked out really well,” said Bagnall.

Shannon Engelbrecht and her summer school class began layout and execution of the mural in June. In addition, there were several students who volunteered on weekends and evenings including: Courtney Colench, Macy Moreland, Phadra Verret, Emma Rodgers, Ashley Barth, Sarah Brumett, Lydia Giesey and Julia Brooke Gillman. Former RHS student Mack Campbell also contributed many volunteer hours to help complete the mural. The RHS Art Club also added some finishing touches under the direction of advisers Connie Shoemaker and Shannon Engelbrecht.

The mural was completed on September 15 with no cost to the Rolla Free Public Library, according to Bagnall. The concrete portion of the renovation project was donated by the City of Rolla, and the auto body class at the Rolla Technical Institute reconditioned the book deposit. Sherwin-Williams Paint Company donated the primer to prepare the masonry wall for the mural. According to Bagnall, all other expenses were covered by private donations.

According to Bagnall, they are still coming up with ideas for improvements to the library. He said they would like to take the front of the main library building, and change it to reflect how it was when it was first built as a post office. Bagnall said the original material is still around, and with the majority of handicapped patrons using the children’s library entrance, it would be a visual and practical improvement for the building. Bagnall said the project is schedule for the fall, but not set in stone.

A presentation was made on Friday, September 29 in front of the completed mural. Kent Bagnall thanked the students, and Shannon Engelbrecht gave each of her students a certificate honoring their
hard work.