Summit County Library Foundation plans major upgrades for Frisco and Silverthorne libraries
DILLON — The Summit County Library Foundation is working to raise $1 million to fund library improvements for the Frisco and Silverthorne branches.
The upgrades will include a new entrance to the Main Library in Frisco and a 2,000-square-foot expansion to the North Branch Library in Silverthorne, according to a presentation made at Silverthorne Town Council’s work session Nov. 11.
Library Director Stephanie Ralph said that in 2019, the foundation did a community survey that determined people’s priorities for improvements. It was found that the Silverthorne library needed more space for children and teens as well as to allow the library to be more of a community center. While the Frisco library was found to have adequate space, the space needed to be better utilized to address community needs, according to the survey.
“The Silverthorne library really is a destination point to which people come to connect for business meetings, to drop off the I-70 corridor and know that they can plug in their computers,” Ralph said. “They can do online learning, they can catch up on their printing and copying, and all of these ideas kind of came together as we started to look for architects.”
Ralph said the plan is to design the extended space to reflect the area’s natural environment with a wooden interior similar to what exists in the rest of the library. The extension will include decks that will allow for reading outside with an overview of the Blue River.
“That deck … is just going to be one of the most spectacular spots in the county and incredibly useful at least six, seven months out of the year for many, many different uses,” council member Derrick Fowler said.
The children’s area will have space for story hours, and a large, subdivided meeting area will be created. Ralph says she thinks the space will fill a need for people to use the library as a resource where they can access the internet for work or, in current times, home school.
In a phone call Tuesday with the Summit Daily News, Ralph said the Frisco Main Library upgrades will include redesigning the children’s area to be more attractive and include areas for different age groups. A teen room is also being created. The new entrance is being designed to be more welcoming than the current entrance.
“That library really needed to be an exciting entity on its own, not just another department in the county commons building, which it kind of is at the moment,” Ralph said. “So we thought that having an entry that is separate from that whole County Commons area is really going to make access easier for people coming straight in from the parking area but also be a much more welcoming, exciting environment.”
The time frame and financing of the projects are open-ended, Ralph said in the work session, but noted that the Summit Board of County Commissioners has provided $1 million to get the Silverthorne library project going, which will cost a total of $2 million. Ralph explained Tuesday that the board has committed $900,000 to the Frisco Main Library, which will cover the cost of the renovations. While the foundation hopes to raise some additional money for the Frisco upgrades, the fundraising focus is on the Silverthorne branch.
One way the foundation is fundraising is through naming opportunities, where a certain amount of money would be paid to secure the rights to name an area of each of the libraries. For example, the foundation is asking for $75,000 to name the new entrance at the Frisco library. The foundation is also reaching out to local entities and private donors in its fundraising efforts and is applying for grants.
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