The Park City Library and Education Center could be eligible to be nominated for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places after the building is renovated, a state-level preservation official indicated in a recent letter to City Hall.
The possibility of nominating the building for inclusion on the list has been of interest as City Hall designed the renovation, prepared to start construction and then began the work. The Library and Education Center is housed in a historic building that once was a school. Many longtime Parkites see the decision to turn the building into a library as perhaps City Hall's most notable preservation effort.
The renovation, which started recently, involves lots of work inside the building in an effort to turn the facility into a 21st century library. The work will also include an addition on the north and west sides of the building. The crews will remove a 1992 addition and put up a new one, designed to be one story tall on the north side and two stories tall on the west side. The addition will result in a net increase of 2,400 square feet.
J. Cory Jensen, who is the National Register of Historic Places coordinator in the State Historic Preservation Office, said in a July 3 letter to City Hall notes that the renovation will "present a fairly major alteration to the sides and rear of the building where a large addition was constructed in 1992."
"After a discussion with other Utah State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) staff regarding the planned renovation, we determined that the new addition would actually be more visually intrusive than the 1992 addition.
The letter says the Library and Education Center in 1995 was evaluated as a significant building that could potentially be nominated for inclusion.
"Eligibility would be based on its historical significance and function as a school and tie to broad patterns of Park City history rather than for its architecture, which has been compromised. If there is enough significance in that regard, it could probably be enough to mitigate for the adverse visual impact from the planned new addition," it says.
The design of the addition drew comments from City Hall's Old Town panel in May, as staffers presented the plans for input. The Historic Preservation Board offered a variety of opinions. One of the comments in support of the designs was that someone would not see the addition along Park Avenue until they reach the site. At least two other panel members, though, worried that the addition will look out of place. One of them also worried about jeopardizing the building's historic status.
The renovation is expected to cost $9.3 million. The construction is anticipated to cost a little more than $6.8 million. The remainder of the cost is related to moving the library functions into temporary quarters and other expenses related to the project. The Library and Education Center is expected to reopen by the end of May.