The Fort Lupton Public and School Library prepares to check into a new building

After four years, a Fort Lupton library project is making headway toward completion.

“I can’t believe this is actually happening,” said Thomas Samblanet, director of the Fort Lupton Public & School Library. “We are thrilled and have been looking forward to it for so long. This will help us be more effective for the communities we serve.”

The Fort Lupton Public & School Library was formed 47 years ago when the City Council approved the merger. In 1993, the library moved to a 16,000-square-foot space as part of a $1.2 million expansion at Fort Lupton High School.

Since then, the city library and the grammar school have been affiliated. Within the next year, most of the physical connection between the library and the high school will be broken.

At 2:00 p.m. Monday, the library will hold groundbreaking on a 14,000-square-foot building occupying two acres at 370 S. Rollie Ave., about a quarter mile from the high school. The new library is expected to open in April or May.

The library’s website states that the current facility is no longer used to provide safety and services to students and the public. Samblanet said the current library has doors that allow students access to the library without allowing the public in the library access to the rest of the high school.

“Removing public access from the existing library will better serve sixth form students and allow students to freely use the library without having to leave the school building,” the library’s website reads.

The new library will include space for her book collection, as well as a large multipurpose room with community access, a collaborative makerspace with 3D printers and a variety of other tools, although the exact look of the room is still in the planning stages. The library will also have a quiet reading room, a computer room and an outdoor children’s reading area.

A view of the interior of the new Fort Lupton Public & School Library, expected to open in April or May on South Rollie Avenue in Fort Lupton. Groundbreaking at the new location will take place on Monday, June 20 at 2:00 p.m. (Courtesy of the Fort Lupton Public & School Library).
A view of the interior of the new Fort Lupton Public & School Library, expected to open in April or May on South Rollie Avenue in Fort Lupton. Groundbreaking at the new location will take place on Monday, June 20 at 2:00 p.m. (Courtesy of the Fort Lupton Public & School Library).

The new library is expected to cost between $8.5 million and $9.6 million, and funding will come from current tax revenues, according to the library’s website.

Samblanet said 99% of the library’s funding comes from the High Plains Library District and the mill levy imposed on its operations will be overridden. Part of the existing mill fee was earmarked for conversions and new buildings. The library has been saving part of the mill fee for the new building for several years.

The library is not requiring any additional taxes or funds from the community, city, or school district to fund the project, according to the website.

A library in Fort Lupton dates back to 1921, when it opened in the basement of a Methodist church, according to the library history. A move to a bank and local hall followed before a new library was built on First Street at a cost of $13,314.

In the late 1980s, the Fort Lupton Library joined other Weld County communities as members in the new High Plains Library District while continuing its association with the Weld RE-8 School District. Library staff are employees of the City of Fort Lupton.

The school district will reclaim most of the space left by the public library when it moves to South Rollie Avenue. Some of the space will be left for a high school library, Samblanet said. The Fort Lupton Public & School Library will operate both facilities and a librarian will be assigned and budgeted for the high school library.

The Weld RE-8 School District provides a teacher librarian if needed.

Samblanet said he anticipates the public library will have about 5,000 square feet of space at the current facility, giving the library about 20,000 square feet in total.

The new library has been in the works since 2018. Samblanet inherited the project from its predecessor, Sarah Frank. COVID-19 slowed progress on new construction. The city of Fort Lupton suspended major capital purchases during the pandemic, Samblanet said.

“It was a unique process and we worked on it for a long time,” he added. “I think this is a great solution that all parties will be happy with.”

https://www.greeleytribune.com/2022/06/18/fort-lupton-public-and-school-library-prepares-to-check-into-a-new-building/ The Fort Lupton Public and School Library prepares to check into a new building

James Brien

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