Mesa County Libraries to begin construction of 970West production studio

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Exterior view of the 970West Studio, looking northeast from Fifth Street and Ouray Avenue.

Mesa County Libraries plan to break ground in early July on a digital recording and production studio that will offer opportunities for the public to learn and perform professional-level audio and video recording.

The studio also will enhance Mesa County Libraries’ ability to document and preserve Mesa County’s unique and vanishing cultural assets.

Approximately 3,000 square feet in size, the studio building will be constructed on vacant land owned by Mesa County Libraries at Fifth Street and Ouray Avenue. As designed and proposed, the studio will include a 654-square-foot studio/training room (capable of holding 10-20 people for training), a 436-square-foot control room, a 245-square-foot space for an artist in residence, storage space for equipment and materials, and parking for approximately 10 vehicles with access from the alley. Visually, the exterior will resemble the Central Library building.

The facility will be named the 970West Studio. 970West is a pioneering digital initiative by Mesa County Libraries to provide the community with unique, locally focused online content and the technological tools to produce such content.

“The 970West Studio is a huge step forward in bringing 21st century library services to Mesa County,” said Library Director Joseph Sanchez. “New media and digital technology enable people from all walks of life to create high-quality audio and video content for a variety of purposes. This studio gives the library an opportunity to create unique, valuable content of local importance, and it also gives the citizens of Mesa County a chance to learn and use professional-level facilities and equipment for their own projects.”

Several potential users already have indicated interest in using the studio upon completion. For example, K-12 students could use it to produce audio-visual senior portfolios, local bands could use it to record music, and individuals could use it to produce video histories of families or local businesses.

Library staff also will make significant use of the studio for various projects associated with 970West Digital, an online collection of photos, videos, artwork, and other elements that visually capture the unique aspects of life in western Colorado. 970West Digital includes collections such as Veterans Remember, landscape and wildlife photography, and images and information about hand-tied flies for fishing in western Colorado. 970West Digital can be found at mesacountylibraries.org.

Estimated cost of the 970West Studio is approximately $1,350,000, funded primarily by the Mesa County Public Library District’s cash reserves. Library administration is confident that construction of the 970West Studio can be accomplished while maintaining a safe and prudent balance in the library district’s reserves. The Mesa County Public Library Foundation has launched a capital campaign for the studio and has committed $250,000 toward the project. The capital campaign will continue through Dec. 31, 2015.

Asset Engineering of Grand Junction, which provided preconstruction services on the project, is expected to be the general contractor. Construction is expected to be completed by Oct. 31, 2015.

“The Board of Trustees is excited about the potential that this studio holds for Mesa County Libraries,” said Elaine Barnett, president of the Mesa County Public Library District Board of Trustees. “Not only will the library be better able to provide technology education and training to the community, but our capacity to help record and preserve many of the unique aspects of Mesa County will be greatly improved. We view this studio as an important and critical investment in the future of Mesa County Libraries and our community.”

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