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Ground broken for safe, fun, educational library

October 29, 2004|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

bonnieb@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - When Constance Cardillo first saw the Ragged Edge Library in Chambersburg six years ago, she was impressed with the employees' dedication and amazed at how much the small staff could do in such a crowded place, she said.

"And I thought the bookmobile seemed so big in comparison to the library," she said.

Cardillo, from the Pennsylvania Department of Education Office of Commonwealth Libraries in Harrisburg, Pa., helped to break ground Thursday morning for a new $2.5 million library across U.S. 30 from Ragged Edge.

Guilford Township donated the 3.1 acres on which the new library will be built behind the Guilford Township municipal building. Greene Township will donate the parking lot including the macadam, labor, lining and driveways.

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At the ceremony, Bernice Crouse, executive director of the Franklin County Library System, said "this is a really exciting moment for everyone who has worked on this. The actual construction will start in the spring, and the doors will open in the fall or early winter of 2005. Together we are making it happen."

One of the goals for the new 17,000-square-foot building is for it to be a center for lifelong learning and a safe, fun and educational place for the family, Crouse said.

Greg Thompson of Brechbill and Helman Construction Co., general contractors for the project, said that 80 percent of the construction documents are completed. Architects for the projects, Newcomer Associates of Chambersburg, was represented at the event by Jennifer Greenlee. Each company involved is donating some of its services, Crouse said.

Dave Sciamanna of the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce said that the project "is about the next 10, 20 or 30 years. We need to be building community assets for the future."

Ragged Edge Library, designed in 1958 as a warehouse for bookmobile services, now serves more than 35,000 people in Guilford, Greene and Quincy townships and the Borough of Mont Alto, according to Louisa Cowles, librarian. Both the current Ragged Edge Library and the new one are Family Place libraries, which focus on serving the family as a unit by providing appropriate space, training and resources. The Family Place Library concept was developed in 1979 in Centereach, Long Island, N.Y.

So far, $1 million has been raised for the new building; another $1.5 million is needed.

The first donation, a $160,000 bequest from library patron Jean Gillan, "made us think we could do it," Crouse said. "The building committee was functioning a year before that, doing strategic planning for all the libraries (in the Franklin County system)."

The project also has received municipal and private donations. Several grant applications are pending, Crouse said.

Asked if they are confident of the $1.5 million coming in before construction starts, Crouse and Cowles both said, "We have faith."

"People are seeing that we are breaking ground and are ready to build, and that will inspire them to donate," Cowles added.

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