The Pikes Peak Library District will spend $3.75 million to buy the former MCI building near the Chapel Hills Mall, expanding its square footage by 50 percent.

The building will house the district offices and the Briargate library branch, and it will provide additional community space as well as a central processing area for the district’s new materials.

The library district’s board approved the purchase Tuesday. The library system gets 88 percent of its funding from property taxes. Officials said they are not borrowing money for the purchase.

The two-story, 112,883-square-foot building is at 1175 Chapel Hills Drive, where Chapel Hills meets Jamboree Drive.

Library district officials said they will move departments now housed at several branch libraries to the new building. They also plan to open a “creative computer commons” for public computer use and technology classes. They hope to open the commons area by the end of 2012.

The biggest change for library users is the planned relocation of the Briargate branch library. Officials say that move should come in 2015, when the lease expires at the branch library building on Briar Village Point.

“It was too small the day we opened up back in 2005,” chief finance officer Michael Varnet said of the Briargate branch. “That’s one of our busiest branches.”

People who frequent the Penrose and East libraries will notice more room in those branches as employees move to the new location, he said.

The building has been vacant since MCI moved employees to a new facility eight years ago.

Varnet said the purchase includes a 90-day grace period for the deal to be canceled. The library district has set aside $2 million for renovations.

The purchase price might sound like a lot right now, but Varnet said it’s cheaper than constructing a building.

“This is a very good deal for us. It’s about $33 a square foot,” he said. “We couldn’t construct a library this size for anything less than $250 a square foot.”

Contact R. Scott Rappold: 476-1605
Twitter @scottrappold
Facebook Gazette Scott Rappold