Summit County Library still fundraising for northern branch expansion
As work continues on a renovation and expansion at the Summit County Library’s main location in Frisco, the Summit County Library Foundation is chipping away to reach its fundraising goal of $1 million.
On top of the Frisco improvements, the library is planning to expand its north branch in Silverthorne to accommodate the area’s growing population.
The projects have received $2.7 million in funding directly from Summit County as well as an additional $900,000 from the 2018 “Strong Future” ballot initiative. The library foundation was tasked with fundraising $1 million to top off the funds needed to complete the projects.
The projected final cost of the main library renovation is just over $1.3 million, while the more extensive north branch renovation will come in at around $3.2 million.
Summit County Library Foundation Secretary Barb Parry said the foundation has received several large donations from people who will have an area of the library expansion named for their generosity. This includes a $25,000 donation from Sue and Howard Carver as well as a $30,000 donation in memory of Eileen Finkel.
Parry said the foundation also took part in Colorado Gives Day and had close to 100 donors, nearly doubling the total from last year.
Summit County Library Director Stephanie Ralph said she expects the Frisco location to reopen with completed renovations in early March 2022, but that all depends on the construction industry’s ability to get work done while it is in such high demand locally. Ralph said she expects work to get started on the Silverthorne branch a bit later in 2022, closer to June or July.
“We are hoping that when people get to see the main library and the doors are opened on that new building and people see how fabulous that is, they will start to get a sense of how powerful this is going to be in our community,” Ralph said.
Ralph said the donations the projects have received are exciting because they show how people are engaged with libraries and how important they are to the community. She said one of the most essential parts of the expansions will be the new kid- and teen-focused areas, something she said will fill a key need in the community.
“What we’re trying to do with the north branch is really develop a sort of welcoming presence on the recpath with a big deck outside so that people will be able to peel off and take part in programming for children and musical events,” Ralph said. “It’ll have a real inside/outside feel to it, so I think it’s going to be really cool.”
Parry said the foundation is just about halfway to its $1 million goal and will continue accepting donations until it gets there. Donations can be made at ColoradoGives.org/summitlibraryexpansion and information about fundraising events can be found at SummitLibraryExpansion.com.
With Silverthorne continuing to grow, Parry said the north branch has long been in need of an upgrade because of its small size.
“They really need a lot more space so that they can accommodate the population gain that’s in Summit County in that area,” Parry said.
Ralph said the expansions and renovations are needed especially as the way people use libraries is fundamentally shifting.
“People are using libraries to study, to get together with each other, to have business meetings,” Ralph said. “The library’s much more of a hub in that sense, and also being able to provide technology is terribly important.”
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