A plan to construct a new, bigger library in Breckenridge seemed to win favor with Summit County Commissioners and the public this week after developers Tuesday presented two plans: one to expand and another to replace the facility.
The project is intended to fix growing crowding problems in the south library branch's current building and to identify space for the district attorney and probation offices on the justice center campus.
The architectural firm charged with designing the new facility submitted two proposals for the project. One would remodel and expand the south branch of the library located on Airport Road in Breckenridge, but wouldn't increase the size enough to meet the community's long-term needs. The other, more expensive plan proposes constructing a whole new facility on Rankin Avenue in Breck.
“Even though (expanding the existing library) would more than double the space, if you look at the type of community you are and benchmark yourself against other similar communities in the region, even at that expanded size, you'd be small for the population served,” project architect Bruce Flynn told residents at a public open house Tuesday night.
A new building would also provide more opportunities for green construction and sustainable, Flynn from Denver's Barker Rinker Seacat, the firm leading the project, said. Both projects include additional space on the justice center campus for the probation and DA's offices. If a new library is constructed, the old building will be renovated to provide the office space.
The price tag on a new facility, for which architects presented two different layouts, could range from $2.5-$2.9 million. Renovating and expanding the old facility would cost between $1.7 and $2.1 million.
From residents at the meeting, the response was almost unanimous.
“I'd just hate to see you spend $1.5 million on this building, when it might not serve the (community's) needs down the road,” Breckenridge resident Stan Hodge said. His sentiment was echoed by others in the room, who called the decision a “no-brainer” and said, as taxpayers, they'd rather see their money invested in a facility that will last.
The county prioritized the project to expand or replace the south library branch due to space and crowding problems.
The library in Breckenridge had 92,000 visitors last year, compared to 86,000 at the main branch in Frisco and 80,000 at the north branch in Silverthorne, though it is smaller than both of the other facilities.
“We do the best we can with the space we've got,” library director Joyce Dierauer said. “But we need to have a bigger, better facility so that we can do a better job of serving the public in that end of the county.”
The funding to build that facility will likely come primarily out of county government's pockets. The project rises to the top of the list for capital funding next year, county officials said.
Funds raised from private donors and revenue from the sale of the building that currently houses the DA will also help cover the cost of the project.
County commissioners are expected to select one of the proposals by later this year. Fundraising efforts and a more detailed design process will take place through 2012, with construction likely to begin in 2013.
Courtesy of Summit Daily News