Fate of school discussedMore than 60 people, ranging in age from high school students to retirees met in the media center of the New Richmond Middle School to discuss its fate Monday night.
By: Gail Winship, New Richmond News
More than 60 people, ranging in age from high school students to retirees met in the media center of the New Richmond Middle School to discuss its fate Monday night.
Patrick Overton conducted a Front Porch meeting in the media center to spark discussion among community members as to the feasibility of turning the school into a community library.
Scott Vrieze, director of the Carleton A. Friday Memorial Public Library, presented a PowerPoint outlining the myriad reasons the current library needs to expand.
Discussion at the interactive meeting centered on location logistics, space needs, financial concerns and service area of the library.
“The Carleton A. Friday Memorial Library was established in 1963,” Vrieze said. “By the late 1980s an addition was put on to accommodate the children’s section with a small community meeting room. The fact is, we still need more space.”
Slides of crowded library activities and stories of turning children away from programs that filled even the Civic Center basement further illustrated the need for a bigger library.
“We all agree we need a new community library,” Overton reiterated. “If we want it to be on this site (the current Middle School), we need to recommend that to the City Council, then address what to do with the old library building.”
What to do with the current library building may not be a simple question. The land for Glover Park, on which the current library stands, was willed to the City for use as a park with provision for a library to be built on the property if needed.
Now that the library may move, whatever use is next on that site must meet the requirements of the bequest.
Overton solicited numerous possible ideas for use of that site before the meeting ended.
Mary Sather raised the question of whether the School Board was amenable to the possibility of converting the current Middle School for use as a community library.
District Administrator Morrie Veilleux deferred the question to School Board President Rick Hinz.
“The Board has not discussed it in detail,” Hinz admitted. “But as a Board we are willing to see what the options are. We need a plan for this property within the next three years and we would like to see it benefit the community.”
Overton took all recommendations gleaned from the meeting to compile a report for the next Front Porch meeting, which has not been scheduled at this point.