The newly renovated 4,530-square-foot Norco Library will soon open its doors, more than doubling the size of the library that currently serves the area.
“This is an area the library has been looking at for years as a needed upgrade in order to better serve the community,” said Library Director Leann Callahan Benedict.
Finding property in Norco has proven challenging so when the former First National Bank USA building at 590 Apple St. became available, the St. Charles Parish library system bought it in 2015.
“We’re just really excited to be able to bring this new branch to this community and look forward to opening,” Benedict said.
Benedict said the $1.1 million project will feature a larger meeting room, two study rooms (none available now), more computers and additional general space.
Along with it will come more room for programming, a bigger children’s area, teen area and more seating.
Benedict said the new location is expected to grow visits. The current location generated 5,700 visits in 2017, but has grown to an estimated 7,000 last year.
“We’re just really excited to be able to bring this new branch to this community and look forward to opening.” – Library Director Leann Callahan Benedict
“We hope to grow the number with the new facility, as well as hope to see an increase in usage and attendance with a much nicer building,” she said.
Benedict had projected construction would take about eight months, but delays with the contractor, J.E. Franke Constructors, pushed back the opening from early December to mid-February. The owner of the current library building has agreed to a lease extension if needed.
“We’re very fortunate to have the owners of the existing building,” she said. “They are wonderful and we’ve always had a good relationship with them.”
With completion of the Norco branch, the library will have finished four major building projects in 10 years. The East Regional Library opened in 2010, the Paradis branch opened in 2011, and the West Regional Library and Planetarium reopened last year after a large renovation.
After the Norco project is finished, Benedict said they will assess all their branches to ensure they are functioning as they should, as well as maintaining and upgrading them as needed.