Library receives grant for remodeling

By Keisha Howerth

The DeKalb Public Library has secured additional funds for its remodeling project, which is set to begin construction in the spring.

The project will begin with the construction of a new building. Once construction is completed, renovations will begin on the existing building, located at 309 Oak St.

Secretary of State Jesse White presented the library with an $11.6 million check Jan. 13 as a grant for the library’s remodeling project.

The estimated costs for the project total $25.3 million, with $13.7 million coming from the library.

The goals for the remodeling project include expanding the library’s collections, adding more computers, and increasing spaces for programs, meetings, studying and for socializing.

“We plan on adding 47,000 square feet to our 19,000-square-foot building,” said communications manager Edith Craig.

Library Director Dee Coover said the expansion will include a three-story building and more parking.

“We are expanding to the west of our current location, crossing Third Street into our existing parking lot and picnic grove area,” Coover said. “There will be parking on the west and north sides of the expansion as well as parking lots immediately to the south across Third Street.”

Plans on the renovations for the existing building will include making the library more accessible for handicapped patrons.

According to the library’s Capital Campaign website, “with no elevator, access is severely restricted for the elderly and people with disabilities.”

“These patrons must go outside and use ramps to move between the lower and main levels,” according to the website. “The second and third levels are entirely inaccessible to them.”

Though the library will be going through many changes during this period, Craig said patrons will still have the same access to the building as before.

“Hours will not change,” Craig said. “We don’t plan on closing sections, either.”

Coover said the library will go through two closings once the new building is complete.

“The first closing will be after the expansion is completed so that we can move into the new space during renovation of the old,” Coover said. “The second closing will be after the renovation so that we can move back into the existing building.”

Coover said the exact dates and lengths of these closings will depend on when construction on the building is complete.

Craig said the completion of the remodeling project is scheduled for 2016.