Natrona County Commission Considers Resolution To Fund New Library
The Natrona County Public Library will be throwing good money after bad by shelling out $3.7 million for repairs on a building, according to a recent report from an architect's firm
So the Natrona County Commission will vote on a resolution, one also that will be considered by the City of Casper, to create a committee to look at ways to pay for a new library, according to its agenda for its meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The resolution notes the library's importance as an asset to the community, that 70 percent of county residents hold library cards, that about 1,000 people a day use it, and that 10,000 students in the school district use it annually.
But popularity isn't enough.
Last May, Casper Fire-EMS inspector Justin Smith wrote to library director Bill Nelson saying the building needs immediate attention to fix severely deficient fire protection and ways to exit the building in an emergency.
Later in 2014, the library commissioned GSG Architecture to study the problems and propose a remediation plan.
GSG Architecture issued its report Feb. 27, which said in part that the necessary remediation would cost $3.7 million, and would require 16 months to complete.
But that work would come with a great opportunity cost and would not address issues about future growth, and GSG Architecture recommended against the remediation.
The library's board of trustees agreed, and voted in March to not proceed with the renovation.
According to the resolution in the county commission's agenda, the main library at 307 E. Second St., needs more than the required remediation. "Even if the life-safety issues were to be resolved, the library building would still not meet the needs of the community for a vibrant public library."
The county commission and the Casper City Council will be looking for funding, according to the resolution.
The commission will appoint Chairman Forrest Chadwick and John Lawson to a committee to study the funding. The City Council will appoint four people to the same committee, according to the resolution.
The resolution only calls for funding options. It does not indicate how much a new library would cost.