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New library opens in Jefferson County, W.Va.

February 10, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

SUMMIT POINT, W.Va. - Although delayed because of wet weather, residents in southern Jefferson County now have a new library.

South Jefferson County Public Library officials Monday opened to the public a new building that will give the library more than triple the space it had in its former location.

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 kids had to wait outside, said Don Ranelli, president of the library's board of directors.

Library officials broke ground on the new library at Summit Point Road and Church Street in Summit Point last May. Construction was delayed because of wet weather over the summer and this winter, Ranelli said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new library Sunday afternoon.

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"We probably should have been in there in October," Ranelli said.

Library supporters gathered in the new library Sunday afternoon to see the new facility. The bright, clean interior has room for 10,000 books. There are Internet access areas, a computerized card catalog and a meeting room that has a capacity for about 40 people, Ranelli said.

There has been a growing need for meeting space in Summit Point to have community meetings with legislators and other functions, Ranelli said.

The one-story red brick building will start off with temporary hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, Ranelli said.

Library officials hope to expand the hours "once we get the bugs out" of the system, Ranelli said.

The new building cost about $350,000 to construct, and library officials had been saving the money for years through private contributions and state and county grants, Ranelli said.

Dave Rowland, a former county resident, donated a little more than an acre to the library for the new building.

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