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Library renovation, expansion likely won't begin until November

The collection is expected be moved out in October

August 09, 2010|By HEATHER KEELS
  • A rendering of the new central branch of the Washington County Free Library in downtown Hagerstown as seen from South Potomac and Antietam streets.
Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

Construction on the Washington County Free Library renovation and expansion project is not likely to begin until at least November, library officials said Monday.

Design is complete and the construction contract is scheduled to go out to bid Tuesday, with construction bids due Sept. 22.

After that, it could take a month to select a contractor, putting the likely construction start date in November, library Board of Trustees President Art Callaham said.

Library director Mary C. Baykan said she expected the collection to be moved out of the library in October.

"We decided we didn't want to move until after the bids came back," Baykan said. "We didn't want to disrupt service until it was absolutely necessary."

Previous estimates put the construction start date in August, but Callaham said project officials took their time in the design process to make sure the plans met state and local requirements and were good for the community.

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"It's been an arduous task, but it's the right thing to do," he said. "It's a lot better to do it right the first time than to pay to do it right the second or third time."

The $24 million project will roughly double the size of the library's central branch at 100 S. Potomac St. in Hagerstown. The library will be closed for 18 months to two years during the project.

Callaham said Monday that the library had an agreement for a downtown location to use as a temporary branch during the closure, but the lease for that space had not been signed. He said he did not want to release where it was until the lease was finalized.

"We're waiting on the last little i's and t's to be crossed and dotted," he said.

Much of the library's Western Maryland Room collection will be housed in that temporary downtown branch during the closure to ensure continued access for the many people who rely on it for geneology research, Callaham said.

Another temporary branch will be opened in the North Pointe Shopping Center off U.S. 11 north of Hagerstown, officials have said.

Both the downtown site and the North Pointe site are being offered for lease at very low rates and their use will be funded from the library's operating budget, Callaham said.

The central library materials not moved to either of the temporary branches will be stored in the former Phoenix Color building, which is owned by the county, and will be made available by request, he said.

Details about the library renovation and expansion project will be presented Aug. 25 at a "Turning the Page" event at the library, development coordinator David Hanlin said. The event is a kickoff for the active phase of a capital campaign seeking donations toward the project, Hanlin said.

The campaign, titled "Building Our Great Good Place," is aimed at bridging a $3 million gap between the project cost and the amount provided by the state, county, city and the library trustees, Hanlin said.

The Aug. 25 event is free and open to the public, he said. It will include refreshments, exhibits on the library project and a video, he said.

If You Go...



What: "Turning the Page" reception to kick off fundraising campaign for library expansion project

When: Aug. 25, 6 to 9 p.m.

Where: Washington County Free Library main branch, 100 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown




Editor's note: This story was edited Aug. 10 to correct "today" to "Tuesday" in the second paragraph.

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