Park City Library redo: ‘gorgeous’ or ‘rather jarring?’
Ryan Summerlin May 23, 2014
City Hall’s Old Town panel reviewed designs for the renovation of the Park City Library and Education Center Wednesday evening, offering a variety of opinions as the work is approaching.
The project was brought to the Historic Preservation Board for input, primarily centered on a planned addition. The board does not hold a vote in the matter. The Park City Planning Department, though, continues to review whether the addition design meets City Hall’s strict Old Town guidelines.
City Hall staffers provided a rundown of the work and offered visuals showing the designs of the renovation, particularly an addition that is planned on the north and west sides of the building.
The blueprints call for the removal of a 1992 addition and then building a new addition there. A net increase of 2,400 square feet is planned. The addition would be one story tall on the north side and two stories tall on the west side. It would house expanded library space and serve as the main entrance to the library on the north side.
One member of the Historic Preservation Board, David White, said he liked the plans while another member, Puggy Holmgren, said she also supported the addition design. She said someone will not see the addition along Park Avenue until they reach the site since there are other buildings on the streetscape.
But Historic Preservation Board member Clayton Vance said he hoped for an addition that fits better and is not "attention grabbing." Hope Melville, another member of the panel, said the addition "looks rather jarring." She also worried about jeopardizing the building’s historic status.
The meeting dealt primarily with the exterior rather than the plans to redo the inside of the building. Jonathan Weidenhamer, the economic development manager at City Hall and one of the staffers involved in the renovation, said in an interview he is confident the addition meets the municipal government’s Old Town design guidelines and those of the Department of the Interior for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.
Melville observed that it seemed late in the process for officials to approach the Historic Preservation Board for input. The prep work, such as moving the library functions to temporary quarters, is already underway.
Weidenhamer acknowledged that the timeline was not ideal. The scope of the project was reconsidered last winter, delaying a discussion with the Historic Preservation Board, he said.
Ruth Meisma, who closely follows Old Town issues, told the Historic Preservation Board the project is "gorgeous."
"It looks exciting," she said.
The renovation, estimated to cost $9.3 million when associated costs like moving the materials are added, will include numerous upgrades meant to create a 21st century library. There will be more space for the collection and expanded community space. The work is expected to take 12 months.
The temporary library space at Miners Hospital is scheduled to open on Tuesday. An open house is scheduled from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Tuesday.