Gunnison Public Library expanding into new site

Public design process in the works for 2019

By Cayla Vidmar

Expanding use and services that no longer fit within the current Gunnison Public Library have prompted staff to look at a new location and an expanded facility to better serve Gunnison County.

Last May, the district began an input process to understand how to best meet the needs of the community. It was decided, based on the cost, that the parcel of library-owned land at the Van Tuyl Ranch would be the most feasible option for a new site.

Library executive director Drew Brookhart writes that it is the “Library Trustees’ goal to design a central library facility that is capable of improving service for all residents of the library district,” noting that there is no current plan for expansion at the Crested Butte library. As a public design process for the new facility is being planned for this spring, Brookhart emphasizes that this process will include input from the north and south ends of the valley.

According to a press release, it has been determined that Gunnison County residents are looking for: spaces dedicated to children’s collections and programming that are separate from other library uses; ample, flexible and private study spaces; meeting spaces large enough for groups of all sizes; a building that is sustainably and economically designed and full of natural light; and a location that offers easy access for children, bikers, walkers and vehicles.

The press release indicates that the library district had three options when considering expansion, including expanding the current building located on Wisconsin Street in Gunnison; relocating the library to the Van Tuyl property, which was donated to the library district; or a choosing a generic site in the downtown core of Gunnison. A new building at the Van Tuyl site was determined to be the most financially feasible solution, with the other sites increasing cost by about $1.6 million to $3.1 million.

The Van Tuyl location offers the most creative design options, with 5.32 acres to play with, ample outdoor space, and a great location near the schools and Van Tuyl trail system. The site is located adjacent to the intersection of Spencer Street, 11th street, and Quartz (see photo).

Design work for the building will begin this summer, “with a lot of public input,” says Brookhart.

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