Renovations for historic Belleville library will cost $950K

News-DemocratMay 14, 2014 

— Improvements to the Belleville Public Library building started this week after a multi-year fundraising effort for the $950,000 project.

The main library is expected to remain open during the work but closures, if necessary, will not be for more than a few days at a time, said Library Director Leander Spearman. The library will announce closures on www.bellevillepubliclibrary.org and its Facebook page.

The project is scheduled to be done in September.

Here's a breakdown of funding sources for the $950,000 project:

* $592,000 from a matching grant through the Secretary of State's Public Library Construction Grant Program.

* $219,000 from the city of mostly tax increment financing funds and $11,000 from the library's operating budget.

* $128,000 from private donations.

* The total project cost includes $50,000 in reserves for unexpected costs that should arise.

The exterior of the building at 121 E. Washington St. in downtown Belleville will undergo a total restoration. The work includes tuckpointing, power-washing, restoration of the limestone and decorative molding and a new roof.

Inside, the library will get a new main entrance, children's desk, circulation desks, shelves, paint and carpet.

The city approved a contract in October 2012 with architects, EWR Associates, to design the interior renovation.

Work began in the library's basement on Monday and will continue in sections from the children's area on the first floor to the adult area on the first floor before moving upstairs.

All the computer equipment on the second floor will be replaced and moved from the middle of the room to a meeting room.

Project plans do not include altering the building's historic marble staircase or windows, Spearman said.

Some cosmetic work -- new paint, carpet and wiring -- will be done at the West Branch at 3414 W. Main St.

The city previously spent about $31,000 on a new roof for the West Branch building.

About $1 million worth of improvements were made to the main building in 1998 and some upgrades were done in 2000.

"The previous library director has been trying to do this for his last five years to get the state grant and funding hasn't been here until now," Spearman said.

An auction of the library's surplus furniture and equipment -- such as oak chairs and tables and a microfiche machine -- started online on Wednesday.

The public can bid until 7 p.m. on May 29. For more information, visit the auction website, www.pillarauctions.com.

Contact reporter Jacqueline Lee at jlee@bnd.com or 618-239-2655. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BNDJLee.

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