St. Charles Herald-Guide

$2.5 million Luling library renovation delayed

Jonathan Menard - November 1, 2013

A $2.5 million renovation that will shutter the West Regional Library in Luling for about seven months has been delayed until early next year.

Library officials had hoped to begin the renovation during the summer, but an exhibit at the East Regional Library in Destrehan, called Discover Earth, forced the start date to be pushed back. Then, officials decided to revise the design, which pushed the construction date back by a few more months.

The Destrehan library was one of only 10 in the country chosen to host the Discover Earth science exhibit. The Luling library is will have special planetarium shows in conjunction with Discover Earth.

“Initially it was pushed back to January to accommodate the library’s Discover Earth exhibit, with programs scheduled at the planetarium. Currently we are planning on revising the design, which may cause the start date to be pushed back a littler farther,” Mary desBordes, head librarian for St. Charles Parish, said.

The redesign is a response to a budgetary calculation. The renovation was originally going to cost around $3 million, but desBordes said library officials are working to pull the price back to $2.5 million.

The library planned the Luling renovation after the relocation of offices from that library to the Destrehan library left vacant space.

One of the major changes includes putting the entrance to the building in the parking lot. Now, library visitors park and then walk along the front of the library to get to the entrance. The old entrance will be enclosed and transformed into a special area for children.

“We wanted something for children that was more than a corner of the library,” des Bordes said.

A new computer lab will also be constructed and a portion of the library will be moved downstairs to make it easier to reach.

des Bordes said that the rest of the building will not have many structural changes, but that the entire building will be enhanced and geared towards technology.

“This building was built in the late 1970s, so there was no Internet then and it wasn’t designed for the technological advances that have taken place since,” des Bordes said. “The goal of this renovation is to make it more patron friendly. This is our chance to do something that will be better for the public.”

The renovations will also include new furniture, such as chairs with connections for laptops, but des Bordes said most of the building will be kept in tact.

“Naturally we are sorry to keep pushing the project back, but it is better to get things straight before we go out to bid, or begin construction,” desBordes said.