County library might be spared

At a special meeting held Tuesday, Ward County commissioners speculated further on including a fourth floor in the county’s proposed new office building.

It seems that the Ward County Library building, next to The Minot Daily News, will probably not be razed and the library moved into the first floor of the office building in order to produce much-needed parking for county employees. This is in direct contrast to what seemed to be the consensus on the issue from the last meeting, Commissioner Shelly Weppler noted.

“The future has come faster than anyone has imagined,” Weppler said about how changes keep holding up the build of the proposed office building and jail. The comment came about while commissioners examined just what was promised to the people for the buildings when a half-cent sales tax to help pay off the bonds used to finance the projects was approved in November.

Still, parking has been the largest hold-up to the project. Waffling on what is to be included in the building largely hinges on what solution the commissioners finally come to related to parking.

The Minot Daily News parking lot has been at the forefront of the parking issue. The commissioners have wanted the newspaper’s parking lot for some time now, but are now discussing purchasing just the north or the south end of the lot. Commissioners noted that newspaper employees mostly just use the south end, which is exactly the spot commissioners need for the jail expansion.

Negotiations have been at a stalemate but many new ideas were brought forth, including purchasing some land while offering up county property as a bonus. Chairman Jack Nybakken and commissioner Jerome Gruenberg agreed to meet with leadership at the newspaper to discuss the new ideas.

Nybakken at first moved not to add a fourth floor at this time, for the Ward County Library not to move into the upcoming office building, and to just get the project moving again.

Where Nybakken was trying to save money and time, commissioners John Fjeldahl and Alan Walter both pointed out that opting to go for a shell for a fourth floor, with the elevator, electric, and water resources extended to the empty space, would be a major savings in the long run should the county need the fourth floor.

The commissioners all agreed that having the option open would be the best move.