April 17, 2013

A new chapter: Galveston Library looks to remodel

By Caitlin Huston and Amie Sites

GALVESTON — The Galveston Library may be getting a face lift, but plans are on hold to build a new structure.

Dave Ivey, director of the Logansport Cass County Library, said the library board is discussing a remodel of the current Galveston building, because they weren’t able to get enough funding for relocation and construction of a new building. The board is planning to vote on offered proposals for the renovations, as well as the addition of another meeting room to the Logansport library, at a meeting in a couple weeks.

The board has been discussing moving the Galveston Library from Jackson Street since 2007 due to concerns about the small, 1,200-square-foot space and location. Proposals were discussed to build a new library on a space of the Galveston Elementary School property, but Ivey said they weren’t able to acquire enough money for the project.

“At this point, we don’t have enough funds to build a new branch library,” Ivey said.  

Instead, Ivey said they’ll use $200,000, which they have already in their Library Improvement Reserve Fund, to make improvements to the existing library.

“It’s more likely that we will remodel the existing branch,” Ivey said.  

At a board meeting Tuesday night, Mike Montgomery, an architect with krM Architecture said he had looked at the Galveston Library, and found that it was structurally sound.

“The basic conclusion I took away is that the building has very good bones,” Montgomery said.

Ivey said the problems come with the library’s lighting, electrical wiring and one bathroom.

“You probably need to whip out your flashlight to look at the books,” Ivey said.

Montgomery proposed adding glass walls and structures to create a meeting room, as well as new carpet and a new facade.

“This could be the coolest space in Galveston by a country mile,” Montgomery said.

If you ask Patricia Slaughter, who has been living in Galveston for five years, she’d tell you it’s pretty cool already.

“I like it the way it is, but a bigger area would be better for the amount of books,” Slaughter said while browsing the shelves Tuesday.

She visits the library twice a month, and likes the current building for its history.

Longtime library employee Pat Hamilton, Galveston, also likes the current space.

“I like the library the way it is but I’m open to change,” Hamilton said.

Having worked there for 26 years, Hamilton says the library enjoys a busy patronage.

“There are people who would like it modernized,” Hamilton said. “I think it’s a preference thing.”

Ivey said he’d like to add more public computers and expand the children’s section to occupy about 50 percent of the library.

“We would put a greater prominence on the children’s section,” Ivey said.  

However, they would not be adding any more space, which was one of the reasons that library had hoped to move to another building.

Ivey said that means they may have to move some books to the Logansport branch.

krM Architecture worked on the remodel of the Logansport library branch in 2003. The board also will be considering another proposal from The Troyer Group.

Though the board had discussed plans to build a new library, Ivey said they weren’t able to obtain a federal grant for the community, because the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs found the community did not meet its criteria.

“The area is too affluent,” Ivey said.

Without the grant, Ivey said the library doesn’t have the nearly $1 million needed for a new building.

Still, Ivey said they may consider a new branch in the coming years, if funds become available.

Sharon Kain, a board member, said she believes the remodel can help the town become “enthusiastic” about the library.

“I believe that it’s needed attention for a long time,” Kain said.

The board will also discuss plans to create a new meeting room in the Logansport library. Ivey said their current meeting room only holds about 50 people, and they often need more space.

He said that the funds for the Logansport branch would not affect the money available for the Galveston location.

“It would not be at the expense of the Galveston remodel,” Ivey said.