Library’s 6-month closure starts April 28

       At last there's a date.
       The long-anticipated temporary closure of the Old Colorado City Branch Library will begin April 28.
       The closure, which will allow construction crews with G.E. Johnson to gut the historic Carnegie library for an $800,000 mechanical upgrade and interior renovation, will last up to six months, according to estimates.
       “We know it's going to be an inconvenience,” said Branch Manager Julianne Rist. “But we hope people will be patient, and when it opens it will be well worthwhile.”
       Upon completion, the 103-year-old facility at 2418 W. Pikes Peak Ave. will offer a larger computer lab, wireless Internet service, a bigger children's area, a separate space for teens with computers, an increased large-print selection, a redesigned main floor (with a centralized desk area much like the original library layout), and a larger basement meeting room with a new “lift” to make it handicapped-accessible.
       Functional improvements will include a replaced ceiling and roof, reinforced roof support structure, and upgraded wiring, plumbing, heating and cooling systems
       The project is Phase 2 of a three-phase preservation project, according to Old Colorado City Library Branch Manager Julianne Rist. Nearly all the funding has come from private donations and grants. Phase 3, for which fund-raising is already underway, will improve outside landscaping and the parking lot.
       While the work goes on, patrons will have to make do with twice-weekly Bookmobile visits and the scattering of library programs on or near the Westside.
       The West Intergenerational Center will house the two weekly programs offered by branch children's specialist Beth Cook. Both her Tuesday Family Nights (6:30 p.m.) and Wednesday Storytimes (10:30 a.m.) will be presented at the same days/times as they are now.
       Other relocated programs/services are as follows:
  • The Old Colorado City Book Group, which meets the fourth Thursday of the month at 11:30 a.m. - to the upstairs community room at Pikes Peak National Bank, 2401 W. Colorado Ave.
  • The weekly senior computer classes - to the Cheyenne Branch Library. The day has changed from Thursdays to Mondays.
  • The Bookmobile - an increase to twice a week. It will park in front of the branch library from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, according to Rist. Patrons can use the Bookmobile for limited browsing or to pick up holds that have been placed and to return books. In addition, the bookdrop at the parking lot entrance will continue to be available for returns, she said.
           Between now and April 28, patrons should not notice much of a difference in library operations. “It will be business as usual for everyone until 6 p.m. April 27,” Rist said, adding that the only change people might notice will be “a few less books on the shelves.” This will be a result of some items being put in storage (because the library's other district branches don't have room for them), including many fiction, nonfiction and children's books.
           Books, DVDs and tapes that “we know are very popular” will be transported to other locations, she said.
           The construction starting date is a couple of months later than originally anticipated when sufficient funding for Phase 2 was announced last December. Part of the reason was the time needed for Regional Building Department review; however, Regional did not call for any significant changes in the project plans, Rist said.
           The Old Colorado City branch's Phase 1 work included the stabilization of the building's foundation, restoration of all windows and doors, repairs to the exterior brickwork and replacement of the front steps. The total expected cost for all three phases is about $1.4 million.
           The building is one of only 17 Carnegie libraries still operating as libraries in Colorado. It was constructed in 1904 with a $10,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie.

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