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Government

Groundbreaking ceremony kicks off 7-month renovation project at Lemont library

Ground is broken for a renovation project at the Lemont Public Library Aug. 11.
Ground is broken for a renovation project at the Lemont Public Library Aug. 11.

LEMONT – The Lemont Public Library opened the book on its $2.8 million renovation project with a groundbreaking ceremony Aug. 11.

The project is expected to be completed in late March 2016 and will require shuffling some materials and closing sections of the library.

The library is expected to remain open for most of the project, with the exception of when the public restrooms are renovated. The library could be closed as long as four weeks during that period in February.

Library Director Sandra Pointon said she expects patrons will be blown away by the modernized look of the library after the renovations.

The project will be divided into three phases, starting with the largest construction portion at the entrance of the library.

The library is building a new program room to the east of the entrance and creating a learning center and two study rooms from existing space.

The current meeting room to the west of the entrance will be converted into the new front desk and staff workroom.

Also during phase one, a new book drop island will be constructed in the parking lot, the roof will be replaced and the HVAC system will be upgraded.

The first phase is expected to be completed by the end of November, during which patrons will need to use a temporary entrance at the atrium to the east of the main entrance.

Phase two is scheduled to start in the middle of December and will include renovating the children's area and adding a new children's activity room and teen area and lounge.

During this phase, children's and teens' materials will be mostly available in the adult area of the library.

While the restroom renovations are being completed in February, the final phase of the project will be to renovate the adult area.

As part of this phase, more meeting rooms and a quiet reading room will be created.

The adult materials will be mostly unavailable during this phase, with the exception of more popular materials, such as new books and DVDs.

A crowd gathered for the groundbreaking ceremony that included officials from the other Lemont taxing bodies and community organizations.

Lemont Mayor Brian Reaves spoke at the event and said the renovations were a sign of community growth.

"Growth in the community is the most important of all," he said. "Staying constant, staying the same – when you do that, you go backwards. You don't grow forward."

Library Board President Vytenis Kirvelaitis said the library has a history of growth, long before the current library building was constructed 20 years ago.

He said the library was once located near the Lemont Village Hall, next to the town jail, before moving to Lemont High School.

Pointon said she hopes to have a grand re-opening ceremony in April for the latest chapter in the library's history, although she does not want to guarantee that date in case there are unforeseen delays in the project.

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Keeping up to date

For the latest progress on the Lemont Public Library's renovation project, visit the library's blog at www.lemontlibrarymakeover.tumblr.com.

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