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The City Journals

Major renovations coming to the Sprague

May 09, 2018 03:28PM ● By Spencer Belnap

The Sprague Library will have major renovations done later this year. (Spencer W. Belnap/City Journals)

By Spencer W. Belnap | [email protected]

Sugar House residents and Sprague Library patrons are all too familiar with the crazy rainstorm that happened on July 26 of last year. The torrential downpour flooded the basement and closed the branch for a few months. Fortunately, the upstairs main floor was re-opened in October in order for patrons to check out books and gain computer access.

However, the library is set to close once again, this time for nine to 12 months, as it undergoes major renovations starting this fall.

“In 2017, The City Library conducted Space Utilization Studies for our three oldest libraries—Sprague, Chapman, and Day-Riverside. The studies were done in order to develop plans for ensuring the oldest libraries in Salt Lake City were supporting the modern needs of their communities,” Salt Lake City Public Library Communications Manager Andrew Shaw said. “The architects that are hired to renovate the Sprague will have a short community involvement process to verify the findings from the Space Utilization Study and make any needed adjustments to reflect our 2018 reality. But we are confident that the results from a year ago are still quite valid.”

An open and competitive Request For Proposal process was conducted, and the library is now in negotiations with an architect to provide design aid for the Sprague renovations. The chosen architecture firm will be announced by the end of April. It will be a local firm, and they will begin design and renovation planning phases immediately.  

“I want to note that we are working to preserve the historical integrity of the Sprague Branch,” Shaw said. “Any renovation plans will honor its beautiful architecture and historical elegance while also meeting the modern library needs of Sugar House residents.”

The Sprague Library is an integral part of Sugar House, and many residents may want to know how they can help with possible fundraising needs. The City Library has partnered with a consultant group, Pathway Associates, and is in the beginning stages of a Fundraising Feasibility Study. The study is measuring the level of interest in the community for a fundraising campaign to support renovations at all three of the oldest libraries mentioned. Based on the results of the study, the City Library will choose whether or not to pursue a capital campaign to fund these renovations.

When the Sprague closes in the fall, employees will thankfully still be City Library employees. They will be dispersed to other branches around the valley over the next several months, and return to the new Sprague when it reopens.

“Nobody will lose their job,” Children’s Librarian Lisa Grant said. Grant has worked for the City Library for more than 20 years and is looking forward to whatever branch she may be working in several months from now. “It’s a nice benefit of being part of the connected system.”