Avoyelles Parish moving forward on library projects
With one parish library enhancement project down and another in the final stages, the Avoyelles Police Jury is looking at two more projects to improve the libraries in the parish.
“We’ve got a lot going on,” Library System Director Theresa Thevenote said.
In its Sept. 10 meeting, the Avoyelles Police Jury awarded a contract to F. Phillips General Contractors of Ville Platte for $232,400 to renovate the former Cottonport Insurance building that was donated to become the new home of the library in Cottonport.
That award was conditioned on work beginning on the Effie branch before work begins on the Cottonport library project.
Parish Engineer Ron Bordelon said the Effie branch library “is a pre-fabricated building that has been built and is waiting for us in Fort Worth.”
That building costs about $90,000.
All that is needed is for the site work to be done, setting the foundation and installing the utility service lines. A contract for that work should be awarded soon, Bordelon said. “Once that is done, all that will be needed is to move the library building to the site,” he added.
Juror Marsha Wiley, who represents the Effie area, said she does not want to delay the Cottonport project. However, she said the jury voted that library enhancements in Mansura and Effie would be done before work began on renovating the building to relocate the Cottonport branch.
The Mansura branch was moved into the historic Train Depot Museum earlier this year.
The Effie project is linked to work on a new Cottonport Bank branch in Effie, which will be adjacent to the library.
The property for the library was donated to the parish by the bank.
In addition to those plans, there has also been talk of creating a community room at the current Bunkie library branch.
“The plan is to enclose the drive-through area of the old bank and turn it into a community room for meetings, training sessions, the library’s Summer Reading Program and anybody who needs a place to hold a community gathering,” Thevenote said.
Another project “currently on the back burner” is renovations at the Simmesport library branch to create a community/meeting room. The area once housed the "Fish and Farm Museum," which will be relocated from the library to another site.
“When I started as library director, the Cottonport branch was one of the newest and most up-to-date,” Thevenote said. “Now it is the one in most need of more space for technology and for programs.” It is currently located in the old Lemoine building, built in the early 1970s.
Thevenote said the current site “has been a good location, only the needs have outgrown the size of it.”
The current library is about 900 sq. ft. The adjacent right side of the same building was donated by Cottonport Bank is about 1,500 sq. ft.
“It will be redone to be entirely up to date for technology purposes, as well as reading and programming,” Thevenote said. She noted one of the library system’s goals has been to “provide community rooms in all the locations.”
That goal has been realized in all branches except Cottonport’s, she added.
“The building which has been donated to the library has an area which will be designated for that purpose, so groups in the area can schedule meetings and the library can offer programs there,” Thevenote said.