The Stutsman County Library building is officially for sale, Stutsman County commissioners decided Tuesday, and what that means for the James River Valley Library System has yet to be determined.

“It’s all up in the air, because if the new owners want us out, if they want that whole building, we’re in trouble - we’ll have to get out,” said Commissioner Dale Marks, who is also the chairman of the JRVLS Board of Directors. “If the new owners want to work with the library until after the election, that’d be fine, (if) they’d let us stay in there until then. Or if the election doesn’t go our way, or if somebody else owns that building, we’d have to get out.”

Currently, the Library Board is seeking signatures for a petition that would place a 1/4 percent sales tax on the ballot for the Nov. 4 election. Signatures need to be turned in 60 days prior to the election. The sales tax would be used to pay for a renovation and addition to the Alfred Dickey Library, and all the Stutsman County Library materials would be moved to that space.

“Anyway, that’s a good reason to pass that measure - so that we can get both libraries under one roof, and then the county could do what they choose to do with the building that used to house the senior citizens center and the Stutsman County Library,” Marks said.

Stutsman County Auditor/Chief Operating Officer Casey Bradley said that if the library building was to be sold, the library could negotiate with the new owners for rent, or consolidate its materials into the existing Alfred Dickey Library.

The Stutsman County Library houses about 30,000 books, as well as computers, Marks said. Those materials would not all fit in the Alfred Dickey Library.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do with the equipment and books in that library,” Marks said during the commission meeting.

Bradley said he hoped to receive bids for the new building by September.

“I think if we get a bid on that baby, I think we should unload it,” said Mark Klose, chairman of the Stutsman County Commission.

Marks suggested the bidding be made contingent on the success of the sales tax measure.

“No, I wouldn’t do that. ... if you make it contingent, who’s going to bid on it?” asked Commissioner Dave Schwartz. “ ... maybe the new owners will lease the space until something changes.”

The commission then unanimously agreed to seek bids on the building.

“I’ve been nervous about this day for quite a while, wondering when the commission was going to decide to put that building up on bids, and of course I’m kind of nervous about what will happen if we do sell it,” Marks said. “But that’s to be determined with the new owners, if we have new owners.”

Discussion on the situation with the library building, which once also housed the James River Senior and Community Center, arose as part of a larger conversation about space needs in Stutsman County facilities.

Juvenile Court, which is run by the State of North Dakota, is adding two positions to its staff and has run out of room.

“We’re required by state statute to provide office space to them at no cost,” said Bradley, adding that Social Services has run into space issues as well due to the increased requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

Commissioners agreed to create a committee to study the county’s space needs and make recommendations to the board, with members representing the Library Board, County Commission, city of Jamestown, North Dakota State University Extension Service and other relevant organizations.

In other news Tuesday, the commission approved a request for $25,000 for the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. for workforce recruiting and marketing of property near Spiritwood. The money would match a $25,000 Partners in Marketing grant from the North Dakota Department of Commerce. The county’s share of the $25,000 would be $2,500, with the remainder paid for by the city.

Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by email at klucin@jamestownsun.com

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