City spending $800K on numerous library fixes

The Red Deer Public Library is getting some upgrades.

The Red Deer Public Library is getting some upgrades.

Thanks to $750,000 from the city, the downtown library is getting a new roof, up-to-date security cameras, an air conditioning unit, and new lighting and ceiling on the second level.

As well, city council set aside $600,000 for a community library for the planned Ironside Elementary School in Inglewood as part of the 2015 capital budget approved on Tuesday.

The library board has not approved the Inglewood project and is in talks with the city and the Red Deer Public School District about the feasibility of the library.

Library CEO Christina Wilson said she was thrilled with the city’s continued support and the recognition of the importance of the downtown building.

Wilson said the library has been simply maintaining the roof on the downtown branch for several years. A recent engineering study commissioned by the city recommended a total roof replacement ($510,000) for the entire downtown library.

The security cameras and telephone system require updating because it is old technology that is failing in some cases. The cameras will cost about $8,000 while the telephone system rings in at about $62,000.

Wilson said the cameras are in place to protect the collection from theft and to allow people to feel they are in a safe and welcoming environment.

She said the cameras are a back-up for the security guards.

“We do from time to time get incidents from all manners of people,” said Wilson.

Neither the Timberlands Library nor the G.H. Dawe branch have security cameras and there are no plans to install them at those sites.

Wilson explained that those two libraries are a different situation because they have only one floor level and there are better sight lines compared to the downtown branch.

“Our doors are open to all kinds of people, including people without homes,” said Wilson. “We are a refuge for them. That’s a good thing.”

The lighting and ceiling on the second level of the downtown branch will be replaced for $110,000 and the air conditioning will be replaced for $60,000.

The new Timberlands library will also get an air conditioning unit to the tune of $50,000. The library is part of the Ecole Barrie Wilson, which was built as a P3 partnership. Such projects typically do not have air conditioning because the schools do not operate in the summer months. Installing the air conditioning will bring that library up to standards of the downtown and G.H. Dawe branches.

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