Library project begins

Builder says traffic at construction site already 'chaotic'

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Library expansion

Library construction superintendent Mike Knack discusses the Bud Werner Memorial Library expansion.

Library construction superintendent Mike Knack discusses the Bud Werner Memorial Library expansion.

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Hector Leon, an employee of Adolfson & Peterson Construction, lifts a section of fence that was being built Monday to close off the area at the Steamboat Community Center. The center will be demolished to make way for a new expansion on the Bud Werner Memorial Library.

On the 'Net

Learn about Adolfson & Peterson Construction, builders of the expansion to Bud Werner Memorial Library, online at www.a-p.com

— When planning a trip to Bud Werner Memorial Library in the next year, residents may want to leave their cars at home.

In several public debates last winter, a lack of parking nearly prevented city approval of the library's $11.4 million expansion, as some Steamboat Springs residents said the plans did not include enough space for vehicles. The Steamboat Springs City Council's approval of the expansion allowed a reduced number of parking spaces as a variance to city building codes.

It turns out parking could be a problem while the expansion is built.

As "mobilized" work on the project kicked off Monday, superintendent Mike Knack of Adolfson & Peterson Construction acknowledged that fencing off much of the library's parking lot already was disrupting traffic on 13th Street.

"What we've seen today is not what we had hoped," Knack said. "It's pretty chaotic. Hopefully that traffic will educate itself."

City officials are encouraging library users to use two-hour parking at the Depot Art Center and Lincoln Park lots, the nearby Stock Bridge Transit Center, or alternative transportation such as walking, bicycling or city buses.

About 20 public parking spaces remain at the library.

"We expect about a 12-month schedule on the addition," Knack said. "We'll keep at least that much (parking lot) space for the duration."

The expansion will boost the library from about 9,500 square feet to 32,900 square feet while adding numerous features including vastly improved children's and teen libraries, an outdoor reading deck overlooking the Yampa River, and significantly increased floor space that will allow for larger selections.

The majority of the current library will be renovated into a large community room. Voters approved the expansion in 2005.

"I think the building will be gorgeous," Knack said. "We're thrilled to be on this project."

Bye-bye, community center

Knack said demolition of the Steamboat Springs Community Center will begin Monday, after workers empty the building and salvage materials this week.

Utility, excavation and foundation work on the library expansion will continue through September, he added, with a goal of starting on the roof before Thanksgiving. Knack said crews plan to work through the winter.

"We will be fighting the elements when they come," he said. "It will be tough."

When completed, a portion of the expansion will extend to what now is the patio of the community center.

Planned demolition of that building caused the Routt County Council on Aging to move its meals and services last month to the Celebrity Resorts hotel on High Point Drive.

Shelley Orrell, program director for the Council on Aging, said Monday the new location is "workable."

"We're adjusting," Orrell said. "The access is a challenge for some."

Orrell said three senior citizens have fallen while entering or exiting behind the building, where the handicap-accessible ramp is located. One woman is recovering at Doak Walker Care Center from a hip injury.

Orrell said city staff installed a railing on the ramp Monday. She praised city staff for "super," constant assistance.

"They have done everything they can to help us," Orrell said. "I'm excited that our program is still going. I truly believe that of the other options we had:this was the best."

Meanwhile, construction of the new community center is under way at the Stock Bridge site. For Orrell, the new center can't be finished soon enough.

"It's going to be a challenge for the next 10 months," she said about the Celebrity Resorts site. "I don't know what it's going to be like in the winter, because I haven't been up here before."

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