City studying library, sheriff relocation

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A proposal to move the Community Center gymnasium to the Pony Express Pavilion has Carson City officials looking at moving the library to the community center and sheriff's administration to the library.

Development Services Director Andy Burnham said a study of the sheriff's relocation concluded the move is possible. A $9,500 study on moving the library to the community center is expected to be completed by the end of June.

As a preliminary move to planning the next large Quality of Life project, to follow on the heels of the $3.6 million Aquatic Facility, city parks staff proposed turning the 30,000-square-foot pavilion into a community gym.

The proposal met with some reluctance from Parks and Recreation commissioners, who wanted more information on the effect on pavilion users.

The idea of an empty community center, however, is one embraced by the library. The basic proposal for the library at the community center is to keep the theater in the center of the building, with the library filling the rest.

Library Director Sally Edwards said a move to the community center would triple library space. Between 1,000 and 2,000 people go through the library daily, and last year, 360,000 items were circulated from the library's 100,000-item collection.

Edwards said there is no room for extra shelves, people are crowded and there is no quiet study area in the 21,600 square-foot library.

"It's a wonderful idea," Edwards said. "I'm really hoping, as is the library board, that this is the answer to our problems. It's the greatest hope to retain our popular location and expand to as big as we'll ever need to be."

While the current library could be renovated for about $2 million to accommodate the sheriff's administration building, Chief Deputy Scott Burau said there are "some inherent issues that would have to be dealt with" at the library's location.

Burau cited concerns about congested traffic at the intersection of Roop and Washington streets that could hinder accessibility to the office. Also, parking could be a problem with 134 staff members and a fleet of cars needing spaces.

"This was presented to us as a consideration," Burau said. "We're not going to not look at it, but there are issues that need to be addressed before it ever becomes a reality."

City officials are planning to build a new sheriff's building for an estimated $6 million, but there is neither funding nor a time frame for the project.

Burnham said the feasibility studies are "quick and dirty cost estimates" being done by Hershenow and Klippenstein Architects of Reno. City leaders in June will review the reports to see if the plan makes sense.

"If it's feasible, then we'd follow up to see if it makes sense for the city to move down that path," he said.


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