Grand Forks & District Library looks into expansion

The Grand Forks & District Library has served the community for years and is looking to renovate.

Situated off of 5th Street, the Grand Forks & District Public Library has been at its current location for three decades.

Conceived in 1945, and located near Gyro Park, the library has served the community for many years and is now looking to expand its premises.

Library Director Heather Buzzell stated the proposal is still in the early stages but the library is looking to renovate.

“What we’d like is a bit more space, especially for the staff working area,” said Buzzell. “But we’d also like to be able to expand our computer use. We currently have six computers to use and they’re pretty much crammed up in a little room.”

Coun. Cher Wyers, who was the city liaison with the library board in the previous council, stated it’s an architectural concept at the moment.

“The library board has a building committee within (its) system,” said Wyers. “They work with the city, which was a part of my position as liaison on the board, and we work back and forth with new ideas.”

“We’ve been talking about renovating or expanding the library for quite a while, but even in terms of funding we don’t have anything in place as of yet,” said Buzzell.

An application was made in the spring of 2011 to the provincial government for the Towns for Tomorrow grant but was denied. Another upcoming recreation funding grant on Dec. 28 is also being looked at for approval by the city.

“It’s an expensive endeavour,” stated Wyers. “Anytime you start renovating an older building the costs will double.”

The building is owned by the city, so any renovations or construction added will need city approval before it begins.

Ideas for the renovations include changes to the basement and possibly expanding the library for study and meeting purposes below.

The basement currently has washrooms for public use, but there is no wheelchair access.

“There’s an opportunity in the wind and we do have some ideas on the table but it’ll be up to the new council to move forward with it,” concluded Wyers.

There are currently no plans to relocate the library.