JACKSON TWP. Township residents who drive regularly on Fulton Road past the Jackson Township Branch of the Stark County District Library have been able to watch the progress of the demolition of the building. Starting the week of June 19, demolition contractors have been tearing down the building that housed the library for 25 years.
The plan to relocate the branch and demolish the building was the result of a comprehensive review of the facility by architects and engineers in the fall of 2016. The initial plan was to renovate the building, but instead, the review showed that it needed major repairs because of damage caused by water penetration to the building envelope and other hidden issues.
A cost analysis showed that while the building could have been repaired, the cost was close to what it would be to build a new library. A new building will offer future cost efficiency in energy and lower maintenance.
"The demolition has been going as planned with no surprises and no delays, we think the demolition will be completed by the end of July," said Jean McFarren, Deputy Director of the Stark County District Library.
The memorial bricks have been removed and be relocated to a new building along with a time capsule that is planned to be opened in 2043. The library will have all of the debris removed from the site with some of the materials being sent to recyclers when possible.
The library will be returning the area to grass and the land will then be returned to Jackson Township.
The Jackson Branch is temporarily located in the Marketplace at Nobles Pond at the intersection of Fulton and Wales Roads. In addition to acting as a temporary location, the storefront branch has been used as incubator to test new technology, features and services.
"The Jackson Branch is one of the most used libraries in the county and it is thriving in the Nobles Pond location. It’s one-fifth of the size of the old building but there have been about as many people visit that branch as when it was housed in the older building," McFarren said.
McFarren said the biggest challenge in the interim location is the lack of meeting space. The library has been partnering with the YMCA and others in the area to provide meeting areas.
"People are still using the interim location as meeting space, they just don’t have a private room to meet. There has been a highly positive reaction to the technology we have installed in the lobby of the site and the laptops inside have gotten a lot of use," McFarren said.
She said the next steps include working with Jackson Township officials to getting the new building planned. After that, McFarren said they will be talking with local residents about what the library needs to provide to meet the needs of its patrons.
"We are fully committed to serving Jackson Township, it’s a top priority for us," she said.