Discussions continue surrounding the future of the Jasper Library.
Last night, the Jasper library building committee gave its final recommendations to the Jasper Library Board. These options 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.
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:
The committee previously discussed several different issues with the current building. 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.
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.
Ward says the Hoosier Desk site would take work in the form of public-private partnerships to make things happen:
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 maintained his stance that the library should stay as close to downtown Jasper as possible:
The Jasper library board’s goal is still to bring the issue to a referendum in November of 2015. That would mean deciding on an option by April 2015.