3.3 Million Needed for Library(!) 

28-page analysis from CH2M HILL

Until the time comes to build a new main library branch for Boise--in 2010, the estimated cost ballooned to $118 million-- millions of dollars will have to continue to be pumped into the existing Capitol Boulevard repository simply to keep it safe and operational.

On Sept. 7, a team of engineers and architects from CH2M HILL were set to unveil a 28-page review, documenting the branch's current conditions and recommending $3.3 million in sooner-than-later capital improvements.

The building is much older than the library itself. Home of the former Salt Lake Hardware Company, the 78,000-square-foot building was constructed in 1947. The City of Boise acquired the site in 1971 and opened the library two years later. But the original design of the library targeted a Boise population of 75,000. In 2010, Boise's population topped 205,000. A 2001 study concluded that the City of Boise would need an 185,000-square-foot facility by 2020 to meet the needs of the community.

"Because of the growth in use, there is a chronic shortage of patron service delivery space for the Popular Library, Young Adult Service and Adult Service areas of the facility," reads the new analysis, which recommends that some non-patron services "be eliminated or removed to an offsite location."

In fact, among the recommendations from CH2M HILL is a $1.07 million relocation of acquisition and technical services, homebound services and courier services. Subsequently the study recommends a remodel and expansion of the library's ground floor, allowing more space for Young Adult and Patron services.

Other recommendations include:

• $614,000 for new mechanical systems, including a new cooler on the roof

• $329,000 for replacement of sidewalks and paving

• $321,000 for new electrical and communication systems

• $304,000 for replacement of roof membranes

• $71,000 for repair work to masonry walls

While the recommended repairs to the library's roof are pricey, they're considered "remedial." The study said the roof "will need replacement" within the next 15 years.

But the analysis offers no solution to a growing problem--parking. Given current utilization, the study says, "The library has a parking need for in excess of 200 cars for patrons and an additional need for 30 cars for staff parking." But the existing space for 125 cars can't be expanded without a significant investment for either land acquisition for adjacent parking or construction of a new parking structure.

"The current parking shortage will have to continue until the building is replaced and additional parking can be constructed as part of a new facility," the study reported.

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