New Breckenridge Library Readies For Its Debut

Jan 9, 2015

Built in a restored 1909 school building, the newest library in Summit County will be unveiled to the public Saturday. Breckenridge's Grand Vacations Community Center and Summit County South Branch Library – otherwise known as "the center" – will hold a grand opening celebration before getting down to business.

The structure may be old but Scott Vargo, assistant Summit County manager, said the new library is cutting edge. 

"We have smart boards within each of the study rooms with capability of writing on the board itself, saving that information to your laptop, to your phone, to your iPad, whatever that might be," he said.

Planners of the library took special care to cater to different age groups, providing each with their own unique reading area.

"We've got a whole lot more space than what we had in our current library," Vargo said. "We've got a nice little play area for the kiddoes as well some nice seating areas for kids and their folks, we'll have some computer stations set up here."

Stepping into the children's room, it's bathed in bright light through the school's original windows restored during construction. Older youngsters have their own room with age appropriate books and even a tree house.

Credit Nathan Heffel / KUNC

For the first time in any Summit County Library, teenagers will have their own space too.

"This is a real great new feature for the facility and trying to get those teenagers back into the library," said Vargo.

Complete with a video game station, a smart board, and plenty of Wi-Fi computer stations, the teen room looks out onto the main library area with its soaring cathedral like ceilings and exposed metal and wooden beams.

A reading mezzanine sits beneath more massive windows with views of the snow covered mountains outside.

"This is the addition to the school. So the first part of the building with the children's and the junior [rooms] was the 1909 portion of the building," Vargo said. "They built this gymnasium and auditorium space in 1921. We are standing on what used to be the old basketball court."

Donors from across Summit County helped restore the 106-year-old building at a price tag of $9 million. Besides being the town's library, it will also be home to local nonprofits like the Breckenridge Film Festival and The Summit Foundation. The basement has a coffee shop, large meeting space, and movie theatre.

Pat Hasenfus, the branch manager at the South Branch library, has been busy preparing for the opening.

"I'm running in circles, putting out fires, answering questions, or trying to find answers to questions, and then just getting everything in place," she said.

Hasenfus believes this is the library Breckenridge deserves, and it's larger and much more accessible then the old location.

"We've always had some latchkey kids that came in after school which is great, but now they'll have more room to spread out," Hasenfus said. "There have been people who say I don't go to Breckenridge anymore, it's too crowded. So we'll be grabbing them back from Frisco and Silverthorne."