OROVILLE – Rick Braman, with the Oroville Friends of the Library, told the council their focus has changed from tearing down the public library and building fresh, to remodeling and refurbishing the existing building.
“There’s not much more to add, we’ve changed the focus from tearing down the old building and building completely new, to using what we have, although it won’t be quite what we had planned on,” said Braman at the council’s Tuesday, July 17 meeting.
Tearing down and building a new library was estimated to cost in the neighborhood of $1 million, while remodeling and refurbishing would be a fraction of that. Braman said two builders had already done a walk through of the old Craftsman-style library and Civic League Building and that a list of the requirements for the upgrade were taken to local builder Bob Thompson to see what he can come up with.
“We are going to massage the plans to meet our needs, while a new building would have been larger, the original footprint of the current building won’t be changed,” Braman said.
Plans included removing the kitchen from the old Civic League part of the building and making a break room instead. This will shrink that space down to allow for more books, according to Braman. The plan is also to remove the existing middle section between the library and the Civic League (meeting room) and move the bathrooms.
“We will try and get the interior redone, remodeled and ADA compliant,” said Braman.
As far as the exterior is concerned, Braman said it was hoped they could remove the T-1 siding that was installed over the old bevel siding and reuse the old siding. The group also envisions a better front entrance that would tie the two sections together.
“Julie Ashmore feels confident that we have a higher chance of finding funds for a smaller project at about a fifth the cost of building new. She feels we have a much better chance of getting that type of grant,” said Braman, referring to the Friends of the Library’s grant writer.
Braman said his late wife, Ellie Braman, who led the Friends of the Library and the push to build a new building, came up with the idea of going back to a remodel the day she passed away.
“None of us know what libraries will look like in 10 years and this seems to be our best chance of getting what we need for the near future,” he said, adding that the building inspector has already told the group that the library is basically sound, with the exception of some sagging roof joists.
“I think it is a great idea, I am glad we can move in that direction, rather than a new building because of the cost savings,” said Mayor Chuck Spieth.