One Independence library’s temporary relocation in one of the city’s former hospitals is a culmination of many “ifs.”

One Independence library’s temporary relocation in one of the city’s former hospitals is a culmination of many “ifs.”

What if, Independence Mayor Don Reimal said, the former Independence Regional Health Center hadn’t sold to the Independence School District and Edwards Management Group? What if the Midwest Genealogy Center hadn’t relocated to its own facility on Lee’s Summit Road? What if the school district didn’t want involvement with the entrepreneurship angle of the former hospital’s revitalization?

These factors, Reimal said, led to the temporary relocation of Mid-Continent Public Library’s North Independence Branch in the former cardiac rehabilitation unit at the Independence Regional Health Center in western Independence. For about one year, the North Independence Branch on U.S. 24 will be closed for repairs in its conversion to a “destination library.”

At the corner of West Maple Avenue and North Woodland Street, the temporary facility celebrated its ribbon cutting with the Independence Chamber of Commerce. The new location opened for business on Monday.

MCPL’s Independence North Branch will retain its normal business hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday; and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Parking is now available behind the Graceland University campus.

Starting next week, the parking garage above the library’s facilities will be available.

Disabled parking spots are located on the south side of West Maple Avenue. 

Call the library at 816-252-0950 for more information.

“All things work for the good of everybody,” Reimal said, “and this is going to be good for everybody.”

Brent Schondelmeyer, vice president of MCPL’s board of trustees, said the relocation is returning life to once-thriving building where life began for some people.

He referenced the cornerstone near Maple and Forest avenues that signifies the 1909 opening date of the original Independence Sanitarium – a different kind of celebration 100 years old.

“There was a great sadness when this hospital closed,” Schondelmeyer said.  “Some of you may have reconditioned your hearts down here; some of you may have spent time in this hospital. It’s a chance to return it as a library.” 

It was a three-week turnaround for library officials. The Independence School District handed over the facility the first week in November. The ceilings and drywall were replaced. Walls were repainted.

“I think the results are pretty good as far as a functional library goes,” said Steve Potter, MCPL’s assistant director of libraries. “It really is business as usual.”

 

By the numbers

11,000

square feet in temporary North Independence Branch at 1509 Truman Road in the former Independence Regional Health Center
43,000

square feet in previous North Independence Branch facility at 317 W. U.S. 24
12 to 14

months for facility remodeling at U.S. 24 location
1970

Year the North Independence Branch moved to its U.S. 24 location

80,000

materials accessible to public in temporary facility at 1509 Truman Road
170,000

materials in temporary facility’s basement storage; the area is closed to the public but materials are still available for checkout.