Library opening expected in June

CHRISTOPHER TOMLINSON/The Daily Sentinel—Work continues on the renovated and expanded Central Branch of the Mesa County Library along Grand Avenue in downtown Grand Junction.

Construction of the newly expanded and hugely improved Central Branch of the Mesa County Library is in the final stages, and library officials are finalizing a timeline that will see the new facility open in mid- or late June.

“We promised late spring for our opening, and spring officially ends at 1 am on June 21,” said Eve Tallman, libraries director.

If all goes according to plan between now and then, the big grand opening event will happen June 20.

“Right now, we’re rapidly accelerating toward the finish line,” said project manager Dave Detwiler, at a meeting last week with the library’s board of trustees.

Officials had hoped to open the new Central Branch a bit earlier, around the first week of June, but Detwiler said he and the project’s contractor, Shaw Construction, decided to push back the opening just to be sure everything will be ready.

“As we started to look through the details of the schedule, we felt like it was just being overly aggressive and wasn’t going to pan out to be realistic,” he told the board.

The new schedule calls for Shaw to obtain official occupancy clearance from building inspectors on May 31 and for opening June 17.

With the library’s temporary location in the former Ashley Furniture at First Street and Gunnison Avenue set to be closed the final day in May, that means about 16 days when neither location will be accessible for library patrons.

The move between the temporary location and the new Central Branch will be a tricky, and compressed one, for facilities staff.

“We’ve wrestled with finding the right balance of making the move quick, but making sure that when we do it, it’s as seamless as can be — and the experience when we do open is the best that it can be,” Detwiler said.

“I think this is the best balance of being as aggressive as we can, but making sure that we don’t open the doors to boxes or things being out of sorts,” he said.

“I know for sure that while Central is closed for the move, we will urge people to use the branches,” said library spokesman Bob Kretschman.

During the time when both Central locations are down, patrons can return books to any branch in the library network, and can also have library holds sent out to the branches during the interim period.


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