Grant allows Parachute library to remodel, expand |

Grant allows Parachute library to remodel, expand

Parachute Branch Library is ready for its over-haul.

On March 10, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs approved a $200,000 grant to expand and remodel Parachute’s library, at 244 Grand Valley Way in Parachute next to Parachute Town Hall.

Jaci Spuhler, director of the county’s library system, said the project will begin in April and is expected to be completed in five months.

Spuhler is particularly pleased to have secured the DOLA grant in a time of dwindling resources.

“All Colorado libraries took an enormous hit as a result of Gov. Owens’ state budget cuts last year,” she said.

Because of those cuts, Spuhler was only able to secure $227,000 in state library funding, even though the library’s total construction budget was $427,000.

That’s where the DOLA grant filled in, bringing in the remaining $200,000.

DOLA’s nine-member Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Advisory Committee recommended approval after Spuhler presented the grant proposal.

The DOLA grant is specifically for communities like Parachute that have been impacted by the energy and mineral industry. Funds come from federal mineral lease proceeds.

“The need for library services by the personnel and families of energy- and mineral-related industries was the impetus for building the Parachute Branch Library 20 years ago,” Spuhler said. “With the resurgence of these industries in the last five years, the stress on services offered due to increasing population growth has made a building expansion a necessity.”

Library administrators have retained Chuck Brenner of C.F. Brenner Architecture in Glenwood Springs as the architect for the library’s expansion and remodel.

But before breaking ground, Spuhler needs to complete the necessary grant paperwork to obtain the funds. And Brenner and library administrators need to make the final selection of a contractor.

The construction project will double the existing building’s square footage from 2,000 to 4,000 square feet, and will involve remodeling the library’s interior.

“There will be ergonomic circulation and computer desks, space for readers, a children’s section, and a drive-up book drop and service window,” Spuhler said.

Spuhler said she is pleased and relieved to secure the grant, especially because of the explosive growth in the Parachute area. Parachute now has 1,300 residents, and Battlement Mesa has 3,500 ” all sharing the library.

“The population growth in Parachute and Battlement Mesa has more than doubled since the original library building was completed in 1982,” she said. “And we’ve had a 400 percent increase in children’s summer reading programs in the past four years.”

Spuhler said she and library board members are aware that all of Garfield County’s libraries need renovations.

“You name it, and we’ve outgrown it,” she said of the county libraries located in Parachute, Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, New Castle, Rifle and Silt.

Of all the libraries, however, Spuhler said Parachute’s needs were the greatest.

Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518

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