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Published December 09, 2010, 09:39 PM

Library Land's Previous Owner Wants to Use Current Site

There are more developments regarding the much-talked about proposed new library in Grand Forks. A local man who has a history with the current library location says the library board has more opportunity there than it would at one of the proposed new sites.

There are more developments regarding the much-talked about proposed new library in Grand Forks.

A local man who has a history with the current library location says the library board has more opportunity there than it would at one of the proposed new sites.

Grant Jensen says he has questions about building a new library. Susan Mickelson, president of the Grand Forks Library Board says that she has some answers.

Jensen's letter to the editor all started with a piece of land he sold.

"That was a piece of the puzzle that we arranged to sell to the library board to build this library," Jensen said.

Jensen agreed to sell back in 1969. More than 40 years later, he has some questions about a new piece of land.

"They said the Leever's location would be a possible choice, that indicated the present site is more than adequate," Jensen said.

The Leever's location is one of three finalist sites for a proposed new library and is over 5,200 square feet smaller than the current library site near South Washington. Jensen says, why not further develop the nearly 125,000 square feet at the current site instead?

"They have not really developed the property as it was originally intended. There's five to eight thousand feet of expansion that would still leave the central area to have the high ceiling," Jensen said.

"Mr. Jensen is absolutely correct. That footprint there is smaller than what we have," GF Library Board President Susan Mickelson said.

But that might be all Mickelson and Jensen see eye-to-eye on. Feasibility studies suggest that adding on wouldn't meet the board's goal for space.

"We couldn't possibly add enough room on a second floor in order to give us a total of 68,000 square feet," Mickelson said.

Mickelson says it would result in more nine foot ceilings, loss of open space, stacks of books piled high and more crowded corners.

The current building also isn't on a major road and not accessible on a bus route, making it harder for people to get to.

"At what point is it not feasible when construction costs are as high or higher than new construction costs. The end result needs to meet the goals we are trying to accomplish," Mickelson said.

Mickelson says they're working towards getting a special election in April to pick a site. She says they have until next month to get everything set.

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