St. Charles Herald-Guide

$3 million renovation could shutter Luling library for 7 months

By Jonathan Menard - February 7, 2013

The St. Charles Parish West Regional Library in Luling will undergo an estimated $3 million renovation that could shutter the building for seven months.

There is no set date for the renovation to begin, but library officials are eyeing a July start date.

St. Charles Parish Head Librarian Mary des Bordes said that the relocation of offices from the Luling branch to the East Regional Library in Destrehan left vacant space.

"We always planned on doing something with that space to make it public," des Bordes said. "After we built the Paradis branch, we thought now would be a good opportunity to renovate the whole building."

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.

While renovations are still in the design stage, an architect has been chosen for the project.

"We are going to make a presentation to the board in March and then go into the construction document stage, which can take a while," des Bordes said. "Then we will go out for bid, but I don’t anticipate starting construction until around July."

des Bordes believes that construction could last around seven months.

"We are going to do our best to keep the construction phase short," she said. "We will have to close the building, because it wouldn’t be safe to have it open during the renovations."

The Luling library staff will be dispersed to other branches during the renovation.

des Bordes says she understands that some will be upset that they won’t be able to visit their local library during the renovation, but that the Paradis and Destrehan branches will be able to handle the extra traffic.

"I am just glad that we are fortunate enough to be able to do this," she said. "After a while a building just doesn’t meet the changes in society."

$3 million renovation could shutter Luling library for 7 months