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Construction begins on library building

May 16, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

Summit Point, W.Va. - Officials broke ground Wednesday night on a new South Jefferson Public Library building that will more than triple its space and allow it to more than double its collection.

For 19 years, the library has operated out of a cramped portable classroom where books were stacked to the ceiling.

Space was so tight in the building at the corner of Shirley Road and Summit Point Road that when children's programs were held, sometimes half the children had to wait outside, said Don Ranelli, president of the library's board of directors.

When the first group finished its program, the second group could participate, Ranelli said.

Library Board members, local elected officials and Dave Rowland, a former county resident who donated a little more than an acre to the library to build the new facility at the corner of Summit Point Road and Church Street in Summit Point, gathered at the new site Wednesday night to break ground.

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The one-story brick building, which will take about four to six months to construct, will include a reference area, computer access, a children's section and room for 10,000 books, Ranelli said.

The current library has room for about 4,000 volumes, Ranelli said.

Because there are more people living outside of towns in Jefferson County than in them, it is important for the library to be large enough to meet the needs of county residents, Ranelli said. It is one of four libraries in the county.

"We expect our usage to quadruple, at least," Ranelli said.

Library officials have raised more than $300,000 from private donations, state sources and the Jefferson County Commission to build the new facility.

The library is the second one to announce an expansion this year.

With an annual circulation increase of nearly 4,000 items in the last 10 years, plans are in the works to more than double the size of the Bolivar-Harpers Ferry Public Library.

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