School board reviews library plan

Expanded facility proposed

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— East Routt County Library District officials proposed a long-term facility plan for a new library site expansion to school board members Monday night at a Steamboat Springs School District study session.

Tom Hopp, library board president, said that results from a focus group of 45 people and a team of Minneapolis consultants agreed that the old junior high school, now the George P. Sauer Human Services Center, is the favorable site.

"We're trying to do what's best for the community, whether on a new site or the existing," Hopp said. "We're looking somewhere in the 20- to 50-year range."

Hopp said the present location of the Bud Werner Memorial Library cannot meet the future needs for space in a growing community.

Trying to expand the 9,700-square-foot existing area wouldn't provide enough space for meeting and work areas, and storage, Hopp said.

As Hopp and Chris Painter, library director, handed out computer-assisted design drafts of possible reconstruction of the district-owned land, study session attendees had a chance to look over the maps for the first time.

"I think this would be a great place to have a library. I can't see why we can't have further discussion," said Paul Fisher, school board vice president.

Hopp and Painter proposed eight different plans to school board members for the 2.5-acre property, which rests on Pine, Seventh, Aspen and Eighth streets.

In each proposed scenario, the library board has left considerable green space that the old junior high school now provides for citizens.

"We thought it was sacred ground, so to speak. For our purposes, we felt the space should be preserved. It's an asset that shouldn't be tampered with," Hopp said.

The potential opportunity for acquisition of the proposed site would benefit the community because of its central location, Hopp said.

School Board director Tom Sharp said future plans for the library and the school district may not have been thought out in the proposal.

However, Sharp said he thinks this town does want a library more centrally located.

Hopp said his purpose for addressing the board on this matter, aside from the fact that school board members will decide the future of the land down the road, was to get a green light to study the issue and for the board to discuss it further.

Superintendent Cyndy Simms said the East Routt County Library District Board of Trustees has looked into many major issues that would affect all entities and organizations within the Human Services building.

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