New chapter begins for Kamas library
South Summit residents could be checking out a new library before the end of 2016, according to county officials.
Last week, Summit County Manager Tom Fisher finalized the contract for a new service building in Kamas to replace the current outdated facility. The services building houses a branch of the county library, a county health department clinic, offices for Valley Behavioral Health and the Department of Motor Vehicles. The current service building measures 5,000 square feet and is more than 25 years old.
The architectural contract with Method Studio, of Salt Lake City, outlines the process to tear down the current structure and the design of a new building. The county is pursuing an "aggressive timeline" to complete the project before the year’s end, Fisher said.
"Putting the goal of a move in by Dec. 31 is pretty aggressive. But in order for us to line up architecture to be done at the right time I want to make sure that we hit the right dates so that we don’t miss the entire construction season and we are able to compete it in a reasonable amount of time," Fisher said.
The Summit County Council allocated $5.2 million from last year’s budget for the new 18,000-square-foot building. The space will accommodate the current services, in addition to more than 3,000-square-feet for a new senior center, a 1,900-square-foot space for public meetings and an 800-square-foot computer classroom.
Once the current structure is demolished, most of the services will be housed in temporary locations throughout Kamas, Fisher said.
"With the age of the building that’s there it didn’t make sense to keep it especially as we worked through the Master Plan we have put together with Kamas City," Fisher said. "It will be a much more comprehensive civic campus on that block which will serve the South Summit community better.
"The staff, the community and the boards that are involved the different groups are really excited to get into this project," Fisher said.
Dan Compton, director of Summit County libraries, said the library board has been fighting for an expanded library space for several years and he is excited to see it fully underway.
"Right now people come and get what they need and they don’t stay because its really not a comfortable facility where they can actually go and do work," Compton said. "I want this new space to be that third place where people go to meet with other people and get some work done in a space that isn’t their home or office. That’s what I’m really hoping for."
More than 6,000-square feet in the new facility will be dedicated to the Kamas library. It will include an auditorium, the computer lab and separate spaces for adults, children and teens. Compton said he would also like to expand the collection beyond 20,000 items.
"I don’t know how much room we would have to grow but I would like to see the collection in Kamas double over time and get closer to about 40,000, which is still below the Kimball Junction branch," Compton said. "I see how many book we are taking over there daily and its just totes and totes of books. The collection is not enough."
Compton said patrons will likely increase as the services are expanded and modernized.
"We are going to get a great facility. We have had this big dream and these goals forever it seems like and now we fought really hard and it looks like it is going to happen," Compton said. "Those residents in that area deserve a wonderful library."
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Officials are also urging residents not to show up to the site without an existing appointment.