Construction on the Morrill Public Library’s $700,000 renovation project is kicking off this next week.
Library Director Erin Verbick said she got word from the general contractor AHRS Construction that work is expected to start Tuesday, Jan. 21. She said staff will be packing up the lower level and moving materials to storage by the 20th, so for this reason have decided to close the library from Friday through Sunday and continue to stay closed Monday, Jan. 20 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Verbick said the library also is looking for volunteers from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Each day over the weekend to help pack and move boxes, as well as clean and prepare the storage space for larger furniture pieces.
Construction is expected to continue for about seven months as work starts on the lower level. Verbick said that although construction is starting on the lower level, the back parking lot and south entrance will continue to be accessible for patrons needing to use the elevator to get to the second floor.
Most of the children’s book collection will be moved to storage while the lower level is being worked on, only a small selection of these books will be kept at the library upstairs and continue to be available for checkout.
Verbick said patrons are encouraged to utilize the Inter-Library Loan service to check out any books that are unavailable during construction.
She also noted that the meeting room will not be available for patron use until further notice while construction is going on. Additionally, she said, the library will not be holding Culinary Quests, Discovery classes, After School is Cool or Studio Tuesdays during the renovation process. Wednesday morning book club will continue to meet monthly upstairs in the back of the stacks.
Plans for the renovation project have been underway for nearly 8 years and funding will come from the Capital Improvement Fund, revenue from a farm that was dedicated to the library and some investments. Verbick said the committee has been looking into grants to help fund additional furniture and accessories.
Verbick said many of the improvements are for safety — such as new doorknobs, ADA com pliancy for doorways and bathrooms, railings and improving the back downstairs entrance. In addition, a new HVAC system will be installed, along with a de-humidification system to help preserve the books and other items at the library.
Work will also include expanding the meeting space downstairs as a current staff work room will be remodeled to offer that additional public space. Verbick said that upstairs a study room will be added near the current Genealogy section.
She said there will be a dedicated young adult area with seating and new computer stations for youth and adults. The Accuquilt and other like services will be moved to a dedicated space for that as well.
This will be the third major renovation in recent years. In 1993, the library doubled its size with a major renovation and in 2000 the children’s library area was renovated.