Lack of restrooms poses problems for county libraryShould Progress Enterprises move into the space vacated by the James River Senior and Community Center, patrons at the Stutsman County Library would no longer have access to a public bathroom.
By: Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun
Should Progress Enterprises move into the space vacated by the James River Senior and Community Center, patrons at the Stutsman County Library would no longer have access to a public bathroom.
“There could not be any access in there for patrons,” said Joe Rector, director of the James River Valley Library System. “So that’s the big difficulty now. We’re trying to figure out whether a restroom could be created that would enable that Stutsman Library to stay open.”
The building that currently houses the senior center and the Stutsman County Library is owned by Stutsman County. The public bathrooms used by library patrons are on the side of the building occupied by the senior center.
Earlier reports were that the Stutsman County Housing Authority was the tenant interested in renting the building once the senior center moves out.
However, the Housing Authority has only been involved in searching for funding for the project, and meeting with stakeholders to assist the possible tenant — Progress Enterprises.
“I think they’re looking at some other places as well,” said Dave Klein, executive director of the Stutsman County Housing Authority.
“Everything is very preliminary right now,” said Jeff Paiement, executive director of Progress Enterprises, and declined to comment further.
According to Rector, however, library patrons would no longer be able to use the bathrooms on the other side of the building due to confidentiality laws protecting Progress clients.
That side of the building would be remodeled and used to accommodate approximately 15 residents receiving treatment in the facility currently owned by Progress.
Rector said it would be possible for the library to expand into a room on the parking lot side of the facility.
“A restroom could be built in that room, but we have no idea how much it would cost, and we don’t know how much effort would be required to connect a new restroom to the water and sewer lines,” Rector wrote in an email report to the JRVLS Library Board.
No money is set aside in the library’s budget to build bathrooms, and the library has not yet received an estimate as to how much such a project would cost.
“Obviously we value the Stutsman facility and we would like to keep it going, but we also recognize that we need a restroom in there,” Rector said. “… so we’re basically waiting to see what decisions will be made by the county, by Progress, by the Housing Authority, and we’ll have to assess from there what will be best for the county library.”
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453
or by email at email@example.com