Historic, but worth saving? | ParkRecord.com

Historic, but worth saving?

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

Some Summit County officials say they hope to save the old hospital building in Coalville by transforming the brick structure into a library for the North Summit area.

At a town-hall meeting March 10 residents will get an opportunity to weigh in about whether the building should be restored or demolished.

"We have promised them a public hearing for an opportunity to voice their concerns," Summit County Councilman David Ure said.

The building is one of few left in the area that is a product of the Works Progress Administration, a New Deal-era agency. It housed a hospital for decades at 80 N. 50 East.

"It’s, in my mind, a historic kind of building," Summit County Manager Bob Jasper said.

Today, the Summit County Health Department uses the building.

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"You’re going to spend more money building a new building than renovating," Jasper told members of the Summit County Council Feb. 17.

He estimates that converting the old hospital into a library could cost between $700,000 and $900,000.

Tearing the structure down and building new would cost nearly $1.5 million, Jasper added.

"There is nothing really wrong with the structure of the building," Jasper said.

But the county should not cut corners to save costs on the project, Summit County Councilman John Hanrahan said.

"We want this building to be a building the county can be very proud of, that can provide for the needs of the library," Hanrahan said.

The North Summit branch of the Summit County Library is currently housed in a 900-square-foot space at Coalville City Hall. Coalville Mayor Duane Schmidt and the Coalville City Council have encouraged Summit County to demolish the old hospital and build a new library on the site.

"Just get rid of it That building, architecturally, has very little appeal," Schmidt said.

An architectural firm hired by the county to examine the roughly 7,000-square-foot building suggested the old hospital should be torn down, Schmidt said.

"Most of the citizens here want to see the building torn down and something functional put there," Schmidt said. "We’ve heard for years that the building had issues We don’t want to see just a Band-Aid on a building."

The meeting for residents to discuss the building is scheduled March 10 at 6 p.m. at the Summit County Courthouse, 60 N. Main in Coalville.