North Bend Eagle



Library Board recommends new library, same site

by Nathan Arneal
published 2/27/08

It looks like the North Bend Public Library will get a new start, but in the same spot.

At the Feb. 19 North Bend City Council meeting, Library Board member Mike Griffin presented the Board’s proposed plan for a new library to the Council.

“With full support of the (Library) Foundation and the Friends of the Library,” Griffin said, “we are bringing the proposal to you of tearing down the existing building and putting a new library on that site.”

The Library Board had been considering two options (see Oct. 31 Eagle). Option A consisted of renovating and adding on to the current library. Option B involved a whole new building, either on the current library site or on another lot in town.

Mayor Karan Legler and the City Council expressed unanimous support for the Library Board’s proposal.

“(The current library building) is getting so bad,” Legler said. “No matter what you put into it anymore, it’s going to need more. There’s no way we could renovate that building to keep it from being what it is: a very old building.”

The current library, which was built in 1913, has had patches of its roof collapse twice in the past six years.

The Library Board chose to use the same site as the current library partly because of its proximity to the downtown business district and the parking space that already exists at the location.

The Council will put the current building up for sale, but if no one is interesting in buying and moving the current library, it would be demolished.

“In tearing down the existing one we understand there could be problems in the community as people have a sentimental attachment to (the current building),” Griffin said.

The library is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but Griffin said that was simply an honorary distinction that does not prohibit the sale, alteration or disposal of the building.

Carlson West Povondra Architects, who conducted a feasibility study looking at possible improvement plans for the library, estimated the cost of the new library at about $1.083 million. Renovating and adding on to the current library would have been about $1.235 million. The proposed library will have 7,200 square feet of space and room for 20 computers. The current library is 2,775 square feet and has eight computers scattered throughout its main floor.

Griffin said that construction of the new library would take about a year, and that the Board hopes to begin construction within two years.
In the meantime, the Council is looking for a temporary site to house the library during construction.

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