Builder selected for $1.1 million library

With the St. Charles Parish Council awarding the project to J.E. Franke Constructors, work can begin on the $1.1 million Norco Library project.

Library Director Leann Benedict praised the approval, adding it initiates a project years in the works.

At Monday’s council meeting, the council approved the move unanimously.

Councilwoman Traci Fletcher also praised the approval of the long-sought project in her district.

Fletcher said the project has been worked on for nearly six years.

She also praised Councilman Terrell Wilson, who sits on the library board, for his assistance in bringing the proposed library to fruition.

“The new location will give much needed space to a busy library,” said library spokeswoman Lauren Campo Pitz. “The Norco Branch is currently our smallest location, and it often becomes very crowded during popular events.”

Pitz said the branch serves about 7,000 people a year.

“We are excited to be able to provide a bigger and better facility to everyone who uses the Norco Branch—and we hope to attract those people who may have not visited the library for a while,” she said. “The need for a larger location in Norco has been on our radar, so we are glad that we are in a position for it to happen.

“We’re looking forward to being able to accommodate more people and provide library services to them.”

The Norco branch will move from Good Hope Street to Apple Street, keeping the library system’s locations at six. Plans are to renovate and expand the former First National Bank USA building at 590 Apple St., which was purchased in 2015 by the St. Charles Parish Library System.

The new branch will be 4,530 square feet, which Benedict said will more than double the size of the current site at 197 Good Hope St.

The current location, which is rented, will remain open until the new one is built.

The new location will feature more computers, study rooms, more seating for people who want a place to read or study, and expanded children and teen areas, Pitz said. There will also be a much larger meeting room for library events and community meetings.

Construction is expected to begin early this year and be completed in eight months, she said.

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