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Second-floor upgrades another chapter in Berwyn library renovations

BERWYN – The Berwyn Public Library is looking to better serve patrons by making second-floor renovations.

To make the project possible, the Berwyn City Council completed a bid review and provided a positive recommendation of a contract award at its Aug. 27 meeting.

Plans include doubling the size of the children’s program room by eliminating two study rooms, reducing the size of an unused meeting room and creating an open play space for children. In addition, opening up the play space enables the library to offer a sensory area, which will allow it to better accommodate patrons with special needs.

“When we did our library renovation in 2016, our children’s program room wasn’t large enough to accommodate all of our story times,” library director Tammy Sheedy said.

Since then, some patrons have used the library’s community room for story time.

“Our decision was we need to make that [children’s] program room more accessible so that they can use it for their story time and their crafts,” Sheedy said.

The renovations will free up the community room for other library or community-related programming. Two study rooms also will be moved from the second floor to the lower level.

The library intends to “build an equivalent study room down in our reference department,” Sheedy said.

A bid opening was conducted at Berwyn City Hall on Aug. 15. The lowest qualified bidder was G. Fisher Commercial Construction with a $36,900 bid amount.

The Berwyn Public Library Board of Trustees approved the project at its Aug. 19 meeting. As a municipal library, the Berwyn Public Library also is required to seek the recommendation of the city council.

The city, upon review of the bids and reference checks, determined that an additional $2,500 for outlets and switches that was not previously included in the plan was necessary. It finds that a $39,400 contract should be awarded to G. Fisher Commercial Construction.

“There were no concerns regarding the project at all,” Assistant City Administrator Ruth Volbre said.

The city council voted unanimously in support of the library’s renovations.

“We have a wonderful working relationship with our library director as the library is a division of the city,” Volbre said. “It’s just one of our departments of our city where we work closely together.”

Sheedy shared that sentiment.

“The city’s been helpful,” she said. “A lot of the projects that we’ve been taking on, they understand that the building is old and it’s just due for some renovations. The carpeting project that we’ve done, the study room project that we’ve done, the city’s been very cooperative.”

Project costs will be paid for using a state grant secured by state Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago.

Renovations could start as early as mid-September, officials said. There’s a four-to-six week timeline for the project.

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