Demand for storage has prompted plans for a $169,500 addition to the Amherst Public Library.
A contract with Star Builders of Amherst was signed Monday following a unanimous 7-0 vote to move ahead with construction.
“Hopefully when we’re done you won’t even know there’s been an addition,” said architect Jim Yorks.
At roughly 12 by 22 feet and standing two stories tall, the new section will be raised on the east side of the library. It will mirror the size, shape, brick, and windows of a corresponding area on the west side of the building.
When complete, the original Carnegie library footprint on Park Avenue will be flanked on either side by identical-looking wings.
Yorks said he anticipates city design-review and permit approvals in the next couple of weeks.
The project is scheduled to take about 110 days from start to finish, wrapping up by Sept. 30.
Expect to see scaffolding but not major cranes during the building process. A staging area will be set up in the library parking lot but Yorks said he doesn’t foresee much disruption to services.
The addition is intended to replace off-site storage units used now for materials that aren’t always in use.
Library director Don Dovala said patrons won’t see much of the new space but they’ll benefit from improved efficiency behind the scenes.
The project will also include some outdoor beautification. Ugly and cumbersome overhead power lines will be buried and part of the roofing will be replaced.
Several renovation projects have been carried out inside the Amherst library over the years, notably a recent restoration of the Carnegie section. This, however, marks the first expansion of the library since the 1970s.
Another remodeling project is being planned for the second floor of the building starting in September or October.
Dovala said it will include a larger children’s area and an expanded young adult area with more comfortable seating. The changes will be mostly cosmetic with new carpet, paint, children’s shelving, and reference desk.
Some of the upstairs area may be closed off for a few days during the work, though even that is uncertain this far out. Dovala said details are still being worked out with another renovation meeting planned for June 23.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.
Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times A small two-story addition will be built on the east side of the Amherst Public Library, the left side of the building in this picture as seen from Park Avenue. Director Don Dovala said the library has been saving funds for quite some time to pay for the expansion.
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