Options for expanding the Mason County Public Library were discussed on Tuesday.
Recently, the MCPL board of trustees had an engineering study conducted in the area of the library to see what options were available for expansion. On Tuesday, the architectural firm hired for the project, Pearson and Peters, presented the findings from Thoroughbred Engineering and the options available for the expansion.
Jeff Pearson, with Pearson and Peters Architects, discussed design schemes for the library that would offer more space for programming.
According to Pearson, one option was to expand a portion of the library by 3,800 feet and add a second building for meeting space.
Pearson told the board that it would be possible to expand the building out to about 15 feet from the transformer located near the building.
“Typically, you want to be 25 feet away, but if you have a masonry wall there, you can be about 15 feet away,” he said.
However, he does not believe 3,800 feet is enough room for everything the library board wants to provide.
“I don’t think there is enough room in 3,800 feet to do the teen room, program room, children’s library and meeting room space,” he said. “I would propose the library consider building another little building near the storage building, that would house another meeting, bathrooms, storage space, that would give more room.”
The building would be about 4,000 square feet.
According to Pearson, parking could still be extended almost to Fourth Street that would give the library 56 parking spaces. Currently, the library has 44 spaces.
The board members said they could see the pros and cons of having the second building, but would prefer to see the library remain intact as one building.
“I would prefer it remain as one building,” MCPL Board of Trustee President Sally Teegarden said.
The other board members expressed concerns about children have to leave the main library to walk to a second building, especially during inclement weather.
A question was raised of whether or not it would be possible to remove the transformer, extend the building out further and add a meeting space at the back of the children’s library. The meeting room, if added to the back of the library, would provide about 1,200 square feet of space, according to Pearson.
According to the board, the 1,200 square feet is almost double the size of the current meeting room, which is about 620 square feet.
“When you extend out, you pick up a lot more linear space, so you pick up more space, but not necessarily better space,” he said. “But, that’s certainly an option.”
MCPL Director Valerie Zempter said by adding the meeting room with an entrance in the library and outside, there would be more possibilities of renting out the space for personal use.
“I know of a lot of libraries who allow rental of the meeting rooms for personal use, which is something we’ve never allowed here,” she said. “It could be used for receptions, baby showers and other events.”
The cost of expanding the library was not discussed during the meeting, as it is still in the planning stages.
The expansion of the library will be revisited at the next board of trustee meeting in June.