Space houses South Summit’s library, DMV, and medical services
March 10, 2015
Kamas library users are ready to turn a page on South Summit’s aging county services building.
Since his laptop broke, Stephan Markham has spent almost every day in the Kamas branch of the county library in the Summit County Services Building, 110 N Main Street. A Samak resident, Markham typically works on the computers or brings in his two boys for storytime on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Markham said he doesn’t think there is "anyone who is not excited" about the possibility of a new or remodeled services building.
"You get all kinds of people coming here and it would really help," he said.
An expansion and modernization of the library would allow for longer hours and provide more services and programs, especially for kids, Markham said.
"The modernization would be great because it is a small library and the area is growing and will continue to grow faster and faster," Markham said. "Part of modernizing the building could bring in a coffee bar or a separate room for kids, so they don’t go running around crazy like mine."
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When the Summit County Council approved the FY 2015 budget, it included $9.8 million earmarked specifically for capital projects, including an expansion of the Summit County Services Building in Kamas, which houses the library, DMV and county medical services, such as Valley Mental Health. Of the $9.8 million, $3.5 million will be split over the course of two years for the expansion.
Liz Gabbitas, a Kamas branch employee, said the current building cannot accommodate the rapid growth in the valley.
"People are definitely interested in having a larger area so we can have quiet study rooms and places for adults to work on their projects or study," Gabbitas said. "People would enjoy having more space and I think we could really serve the community better."
Gabbitas said it would be "wonderful if our library services could accommodate the future growth with a larger building."
Kamas Branch Manager Kate Mapp said an expansion could help the library transition into eBooks.
"We definitely want to expand our collection if and when we do get a new library," Mapp said. "But the biggest thing is creating more community space."
Mapp said there are only three chairs available for patrons to sit and read.
"It’s not an ideal space and it’s often very loud," Mapp said. "And it’s not just about the books. It’s about creating community. It would be that unique niche for the community and Kamas Valley doesn’t really have that, aside from the rec center. We want to make it bigger and better."
A survey was posted on the county’s website in recent weeks in an attempt to gauge South Summit residents’ thoughts on upgrading the building. More than 280 residents responded to the 10-question survey.
"Our goal is for the county to build a facility that will be forward thinking and plan for the future growth for that community," said Dan Compton, director of Summit County Libraries. "It is needed and there is a demand for it.
"Everyone is excited about this possibility of an expansion," he added.
Compton said the Kamas branch occupies the smallest space of the county’s three branches "even though it serves more people."
In 2013, Kamas circulated 80,608 materials compared to the Coalville and Kimball Junction branches, which circulated 3,500 and 53,618 materials respectively.
The Kamas branch occupies approximately 2,000-square-feet and includes 21,168 materials, such as books, audio books and DVDs.
"They are doing a lot with very little over there right now," he said.
The Library Board’s goal is to "make sure the city of Kamas and South Summit get a facility that will fit their needs for the next 20 to 30 years," Compton said. The current structure was built in 1989.
"It has already served the county very well for the last 25 years," Compton said. "But it seemed like it was doomed from day one to not fit the community’s needs. We just want to make sure that same thing does not happen again."
Compton said a new or upgraded building would cost approximately $4.5 million.
Summit County Health Department Director Rich Bullough said the county’s health services, also located in the building, are "a little bit pressed right now on space."
"Kamas Valley is growing and the services we are delivering are growing," Bullough said. "We are very excited about the potential to provide better and more services.
"When that building was built they took the blueprint and then shrunk it," he said. "So everything there is a little small and everything is a little confined. So this isn’t a luxury. We view this as something that is really needed. The building area doesn’t really provide space that is conducive to what we are trying to offer."
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