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Library seeking architect for expansion project

Dickinson Public Library is seeking an architect for its upcoming expansion project. The library's foundation has purchased the former Arc thrift store building at 140 Second St. W. that is next to the library and the Friends of the Library books...

The Dickinson Area Public Library Foundation has purchased the former Arc Aid Thrift Store building on Second Street for a planned children's center. The Arc building will be torn down this spring. (Brandon L. Summers / The Dickinson Press)
The Dickinson Area Public Library Foundation has purchased the former Arc Aid Thrift Store building on Second Street for a planned children's center. The Arc building will be torn down this spring. (Brandon L. Summers / The Dickinson Press)

Dickinson Public Library is seeking an architect for its upcoming expansion project.

The library's foundation has purchased the former Arc thrift store building at 140 Second St. W. that is next to the library and the Friends of the Library bookstore.

The plan is for the Arc building to be demolished this spring before designing a new building.

"We are waiting until the frost is all out of the ground," Library Director Rita Ennen said of the demolition. "There are gas lines and other things like that. That's what the hold up has been."

The city of Dickinson is facilitating the demolition, with BG Excavation as contractor.

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The demolition process is a simple one, Leonard Schwindt, city building official, said.

"We go through and verify there's no asbestos in there," he said. "The water's off already. The utility companies need to come in once the ground has thawed and shut off the gas and power. Then the company would start the deconstruction. Part of their bid was to recycle a majority of the material."

The library's building committee has reviewed proposals for an expansion and invited three architects for interviews April 24, Ennen said.

"After that, we will be selecting who our architect for the design phase will be," she said.

During the design phase, the library will host public forums on the new library space and workshops with library staff.

"In about four months, we we hope to have something we can show to the public that we'll be using for fundraising," Ennen said.

She added, "I'm really interested to here our community's thoughts."

Already, there are ideas for how the space will be used.

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Ennen said the new building will connect to the Friends of the Library bookstore at 128 Second St. W., next door to the Arc thrift building, bringing the bookstore "under the roof" of the library.

A priority for the library is a dedicated space for children's programming.

"We are looking at meeting rooms and that sort of thing, the kinds of things we don't have in the current building," Ennen said. "We are looking at makerspaces, places that are specifically designed for hands-on learning in particular."

The main library facility also will be renovated, with adult non-fiction materials being moved from the lower level.

"It's down there in the children's space," Ennen said. "We'd like to see those moved. It is possible that's where our children's programming area would be, in fact."

She added, "Adults who want a quiet place to read or something will have that elsewhere."

It is also possible that community space could be made accessible while the library is closed, Ennen said.

"We can have some areas outside of the gates, if you will, outside of our collection areas," she said. "That's one of our limitations of the current meeting room, for instance. If that was available longer hours, or on the weekend when the library is closed, there would be lots of people who would be interested in using that space."

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