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Parish to study Central Library expansion

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Bossier Parish’s library system is experiencing growing pains and the central library facility in Bossier City is at the top of the list when it comes to needing more space.

“We’ve come a long way; the library world is changing,” said Heather McEntee, director of the parish library system. “We’re no longer just books. We’re ready to move forward. The central library was build in 1986 and you can tell it is no longer functional.”

McEntee told members of the Bossier Parish Police Jury Wednesday a new administration/support services building is needed to accommodate growth at the existing central library. McEntee said she had already discussed the issue with members of the parish library board at the group’s regular meeting.

One idea originally was to expand upward, adding perhaps two additional floors to the existing building. That idea, McEntee said, was going to be “pretty expensive.”

“It was going to be close to $20 million. We would have to go to the taxpayers for that and I didn’t want to do that,” she said. “We did not think it was practical to go up. We want to go this route because it is more practical for the taxpayers.”

One avenue McEntee considered is building a facility on existing police jury property. Parish Administrator Bill Altimus told jury members he was “looking for something we own.”

“There is five acres owned by the police jury behind the courthouse. There is also another alternative which I have not discussed with Heather that we may want to consider,” Altimus said.

When asked if money was available for a possible project, McEntee said there were revenues in reserve and money left over from the construction of the Anna P. Tooke Memorial Library in Koran.

“I heard Heather’s presentation to the library board and we talked about savings and how we would do this,” said District 1 jury member Bob Brotherton, a regular attendee at library board meetings. “We’re not talking about thousands of dollars, we’re talking about millions of dollars.”

Jury members voted to give McEntee and Altimus the go-ahead to study all avenues that could lead to a new building to house administration and support services of the library system.