Library board revisits options to build new, purchase buildingThe James River Valley Library System Library Board continues to investigate several options for adding more space at the Alfred Dickey Library or building a new facility elsewhere.
By: By Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
The James River Valley Library System Library Board continues to investigate several options for adding more space at the Alfred Dickey Library or building a new facility elsewhere.
The issue may be urgent because a new tenant is considering moving into part of the building in which the Stutsman County Library is located — which would mean patrons would no longer have access to a restroom.
“I believe that putting a restroom in, whether it’s an additional room that we might be granted, or whether it’s in the meager space we might already have, is financially out of our league,” said Joe Rector, JRVLS director.
A new bathroom is not in the library’s budget for next year, and the library cannot remain open without handicapped-accessible restrooms that are up to building codes and accessibility requirements.
Currently, library patrons must walk to the other side of the building, where the James River Senior and Community Center is located, to use those bathrooms.
Although prospective tenant Progress Enterprises would prefer the Stutsman County Library remain where it is, Progress cannot offer restroom access to patrons due to its confidentiality rules.
Meanwhile, there is not enough room in Alfred Dickey Library to take all the books in the Stutsman County Library should it be forced to close its doors due to the restroom issue.
Rector said he would ask if it could be possible for either Progress or Stutsman County to pay for bathrooms for the facility. Stutsman County owns the building.
The potential lack of restrooms has lent new urgency to the library board’s ongoing discussion about its facilities.
“I believe we ought to pursue two parallel options,” Rector said.
One of those options is purchasing the Essentia site and building a single consolidated library there.
The other option is purchasing the Maranatha building adjacent to Alfred Dickey Library, gutting it and renovating it.
“What I think is that we need to pursue the two options and then see what is the best deal we could get for either option,” Rector said.
Gutting and renovating the Maranatha building would cost approximately $4 million less than building new, or approximately $4.1 million total.
That price includes renovating Alfred Dickey Library and knocking out the floors of Maranatha, allowing the levels to match those of the library, and bolstering the foundation so that the building can hold the weight of books.
It would double the space available at the Alfred Dickey facility. However, it would not increase available parking.
“It may unify people who want us to keep the old building versus people who want a brand new building. It’s going to retain its historic character but it’s going to be completely modernized,” Rector said.
The price of building at the Essentia site was slightly less than $8 million.
The library board had asked the Jamestown City Council for permission to purchase the Essentia property on April 30, 2011, but the council denied the request. Since then, the board has been searching for alternatives, such as purchasing the old Eagles building or renting space in the old Jamestown Hospital building.
Rector said he liked both the Essentia and Maranatha plans, and also said that he felt that the library can afford to be patient and wait for a good price on a piece of land.
“Do we have people with an appetite, in our community, to put in any money into anything?” asked Gary Riffe, a member of the library board.
Dale Marks, Stutsman County commissioner and library board member, said he believes the Essentia site is out. Even if the library was given the site, it would cost $400,000 to tear down the existing building on that site and mitigate its asbestos.
“I guess we’ve got to sit down and weigh out the positives and negatives of these sites,” Marks said.
The next meeting of the library board is at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 12.
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453
or by email at