ALPENA – The Alpena County Library might not look much different on the outside once the renovations are complete, but when visitors walk through the front entrance, it will look like a brand new facility.
It will be several more weeks before the Alpena city center library opens, library director Eric Magness-Eubank said.
Immediately upon entering, people will notice a large metal staircase to their right. It replaces the one that was once in the center of the ground floor and offers plenty of space to leaf through books, work on computers or enjoy a view of the city from the large windows. Newly renovated bathrooms and a host of modern furniture and fixtures are installed throughout the premises to make the library users’ experience simple, convenient and fun.
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In 2019, Alpena County voters handily approved a $ 0.25 million 20-year property tax renewal for the library to cover the massive costs of much-needed HVAC upgrades, as well as remodeling. and operations.
“We basically built a 21st century library inside a 20th century shell,” Eubank said. Taxpayers get the best possible library this community can afford. I think people will leave here when he is open and impressed and proud. “
The first floor is designed for children and has a special center for adolescents which will separate adolescents from the little ones. It will also house the establishment’s special collections, which will be confined in a special climate-controlled area that will help preserve the materials it houses.
The whole building is more user-friendly, especially for disabled or elderly people. The elevator is now in a convenient location and moving from room to room will allow people who may need a wheelchair to move easily from place to place.
“This building just got a lot friendlier than it ever was,” Eubank said. “The ease of use of the library has never been better. “
Contractors continue to connect lighting fixtures in the building and there is still work to be done outside the facility, but Eubank said soon the books that are in a temporary location at Bear Point Plaza will be moved to the city center. He said it could take about two weeks.
Eubank said the doors to the facility could open to the public in October, but was unwilling to speculate on an exact date.
The project went well considering what the entrepreneurs had to deal with. After construction began, the COVID-19 pandemic began and, more recently, a shortage of workers and materials caused short delays.
Despite this, Eubank said he was happy with the time it took to complete the big project and the final product.
“I think we did really well, considering the cards that were given to us,” he said.