Discussions on the future of the Jasper library are continuing.
Last night, the Jasper library building committee met to discuss the three options that are being considered for the future. Those are rebuilding on the current Jasper library site, utilizing part of the former Hoosier Desk building as the new library, or building a new library on land along South Newton Street.
Now work on the current building would also have options. Those are to tear the current building down and build a new building from the ground up, or do a 2-phase rebuild that would allow for part of the old building to remain open while construction goes on in the other area.
The committee discussed several different issues with the current building last night. These include aisles that are too narrow, the height of shelves, and no room to grow the building’s collection. The current building is 11 thousand square feet as a whole and just 34 hundred square feet of it is used for housing the collection. The library is looking to more than double the size for any future building. The plans call for 25 to 30 thousand square feet.
Brad Ward is the chairman of the building committee. He says even with the space issues, the current site can still be part of the future:
Discussions also continued about the former Hoosier Desk building and the South Newton street property as options. The Hoosier Desk building was recommended by consultants Gamble and Associates. That firm put together the city’s downtown riverfront master plan.
As for the South Newton property, Ward says it is a bit of a wildcard because it was voted down during the previous referendum. However, he says there is good reason for having it as an option:
The committee has briefly discussed sites outside of the downtown area but the idea of such a location hasn’t gained much traction. As for Ward, he says regardless of what property is used for the building, keeping Jasper’s library downtown will be vital in the future:
The committee is now nearing the end of its work. Ward expressed a desire to have the work done after just 2 more meetings. The committee will be meeting on August 11th and again on August 18th to conclude its role. Recommendations would then likely be presented at a special meeting of the Jasper Library Board sometime in September. The date and time of that meeting has yet to be determined.