Discussions are underway for a new Norfolk County Public Library (NCPL) branch location in Port Dover at the present location of Port Dover Composite School on St. George Street.
Library Board Chair Tom Morrison and the NCPL Board announced that with the adoption of a resolution by Grand Erie District School Board regarding the future use of Port Dover Composite School as an elementary school and with Norfolk County Council passing a motion to enter into a lease for library space within PDCS, meaningful discussions to further the concept are underway.
In a phone interview on Monday the library chairman stated the high school space had been considered and inspected with an architect by the County and Library Bd. members about a year ago as one of several options for a new town library.
There have been further discussions with Supt. Jamie Gunn at GEDSB. Norfolk County appointed Bill Hett, as CEO of the library system, to head this project. While Mr. Hett has resigned as the Library’s CEO, he is staying on this project. Councillors John Wells and Charlie Luke serve on the six-member library board.
“I am more than happy”, Port Dover Coun. John Wells said in an interview.
He added that Port Dover needs a modern, accessible library.
Coun. Wells would like to see the new library ready to greet Doverwood School students when they move to Port Dover Composite School in September.
If the library isn’t open by September, Coun. Wells said he would like it open by the end of this year at the latest.
Coun. Wells said, as far as he knows, Norfolk County has no plans to use the current library on Main Street after it closes.
The current library’s fate has not been discussed, he said.
The former PDCS tech wing is 8,600 square feet of space, whereas the current Main Street library on two floors provides about 5,000 sq. ft.
The Library Board proposes that this area be renovated to have a separate entrance, meeting rooms, and be the library for the students as well. The design would allow for the library to operate co-operatively with the school, yet also operate independently and outside of regular school schedules.
“This is an exciting opportunity for NCPL to replace its aging facility and to expand its service footprint to better serve the people of Port Dover and the county. To be a partner with GEDSB is just such an added bonus for us”, says Chair Morrison
“Norfolk County Council has been supportive of this project from the outset and readily recognizes the opportunity to offer the community and the students a full range of services found in any modern library. Council also recognizes that in partnering with the GEDSB many synergies and common operating benefits can be found”, says Mayor Dennis Travale.
Rita Collver, Chair of GEDSB, is pleased the Board is a partner with the NCPL to share facility space in the Port Dover Composite site.
Mrs. Collver said, “The partnership between the Board and the library supports the Board’s goal to promote literacy and lifelong learning while maintaining the Board’s commitment to provide quality accommodations to our students.”
The Library Board said it would be their intention to place the plans as well as the project timelines on public display in the Port Dover Branch for review, discussion and comment as soon as they are available. Those dates were not immediately available.