A Lil’ Library Lovin’ - Meeting hall, courtyard ready by year’s end

Courtesy photo
Scaffolding, cones and caution tape line the side of the Converse County Meeting Hall as an overhang is built to provide people with some protection from the elements year around. Work is done inside adding a full, up to code kitchen, a hardwood floor in half of the building and a way to make two separate rooms or have one big room; making for a flexible multifunction room.

By Cinthia Stimson

Things are changing in Glenrock once again and it appears to be for the better. Work is wrapping up on the $1.65 million Converse County Library’s renovation of the meeting hall and the courtyard roof project.
Glenrock Branch Manager Jennifer Kofoed said all of the funding for the project is, “money remaining from the initial Special Purpose Excise Tax (SPET) funds earned through the sixth penny on the dollar, as voted on back in 2012. These funds are specifically reserved for library buildings, maintenance and renovation.” 
While an actual completion date has not yet been finalized, Kofoed said confidence is high that the renovated hall and courtyard will reopen by the end of the year.
The idea to upgrade the hall and work on the courtyard began in July 2020, she said, when the library folks began asking patrons and community members what types of improvements they would like to see.
“After pooling ideas, we requested proposals from architects and interviewed multiple architectural firms in October 2020, selecting Amundsen Associates in November 2020. We knew going into the renovation process that delays were hitting construction projects hard nationwide following the initial part of the Covid pandemic. Through bids, Caspar Building Systems, Inc. was selected as our contractor and they began construction in December 2021,” Kofoed explained.
When the new library was completed in 2015, the Converse County Library Board of Trustees decided to hang onto the old library building to use as a meeting hall, available for the library and members of the community to use.
“We normally had between three and five bookings each week and had a lot of positive response from the public. Sometimes those using the meeting hall would mention that while they loved using the space, they wished it had better acoustics. The room echoed and made it difficult to hear, or (wished) that they’d be able to show a movie or have a music system in place, or that it would have more refrigerator space.
“As we continued to get this type of feedback from those using the (area), the board decided that it would be beneficial to improve the meeting space and also incorporate the courtyard area, as well. Initial design plans for the meeting hall (when the new building was still under construction) had included the idea of being able to access the courtyard area directly from the hall. Library staff felt this would be of great benefit for events, bringing the possibility of an indoor-outdoor venue to Glenrock,” Kofoed said.
The courtyard has been used by the library for concerts, parties and various events, she said, but the direct sunlight made it incredibly hot during the summer.
“It was decided that in order to improve this area, it would be essential to have some shade coverage and ideal to also incorporate a covered stage area. In June 2020 the (board) started to seriously consider the possibilities of renovation as our libraries were just reopening following a three-month pandemic closure. 2020 was a time of change. We started recognizing the value in having an outdoor space available in addition to having our indoor meeting spaces,” she said. 
Upgrades to the meeting hall include greatly improved acoustics, a music and speaker system in place, a moveable partition to allow for two events to take place simultaneously, TVs and a projection screen for movies, events and gatherings, and overall updates to technology.
“The kitchen has been expanded and has an industrial fridge, freezer, sinks, microwave, warming cabinet, as well as a stove and oven, which will create an ideal warming/catering kitchen. We also have a beautiful antique piano which was donated in honor of Mabel Thayer, which will be housed in the meeting hall. These additions and improvements will help to accommodate a wider range of events.
“We retained carpeting in half of the meeting hall and have a vinyl surface on the other half, providing easier cleanup for events involving food or crafts. (It) will be more conducive for activities like dancing and exercise classes, or dancing during an event,” she said.
Library staff and board members anticipate both areas will commence with a wide variety of events once the spaces are officially open again. 
Kofoed said in the past they’ve had concerts, crafts, storytimes and other library-centric events in the meeting space. The community also held birthday parties, wedding receptions, family reunions, staff holiday parties, meetings and other events there. 
The courtyard area was utilized for musical events in the past, but now with the stage, seating and access from the meeting hall it can now be used more widely as part of other library and public events.
“For the courtyard we’ll have a stage area with the option of bringing out speakers and/or microphones for outdoor concerts. A seating wall provides places for spectators (to sit) or they can bring a folding chair. We should be able to project movies onto the back of the stage area and we’re looking forward to having some shade for outdoor events,” she said.
There’s no definitive date yet for a grand re-opening celebration of these revamped areas – yet. 
“We’re still waiting on dates before we decide what the grand opening will include. We hope to have more details available soon and we’ll definitely get the word out as we get closer to reopening!”


Glenrock Independent

Physical Address:506 W. Birch, Glenrock, WY 82637 Mailing Address: PO Box 109, Douglas, WY 82633 Phone: (307) 436-2211

The Glenrock Independent is located in the Bronco Building

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