By Rob McDaniel
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — The expansion project at the Laurel County Public Library officially began a few weeks ago but, according to District Director Peggy Mershon of the Laurel County Public Library, this is only the beginning of a long process.
Mershon said construction crews have begun moving and placing dirt for the upcoming expansion, but actual construction won’t begin for several months.
The $5.2 million addition is expected to double the shelving area for the adult and children’s department as well as add a small, young adult section and a multi-purpose room for special programming.
Because the expansion will extended from the patio area, Mershon said the engraved bricks, which were purchased by community members when the library was first built in May 2003, will be carefully removed and stored to be re-laid in the new outdoor areas around the expansion.
The expansion was designed by Pearson & Peters Architects from Lexington and the project will be managed by Hacker Brothers Construction of London. The expansion is expected to increase the size of the library by approximately 16,000 square feet.
“The library is bursting at the seams with all the materials we have for check out, and when we offer a special program that attracts a large audience, they’re uncomfortably packed into the limited seating area we can arrange,” Mershon said in a press release. “The expansion will allow us to add materials to our collection and offer special programming in a dedicated area without disturbing others using the library.”
The library is expected to operate as close to normally as possible during construction, but staff members expect there will be a few days of closure during the process.
“These will be announced as far in advance as possible through our website and social media outlets,” Mershon said. “We may also experience some minor inconveniences such as re-routed entrances and parking changes, but the end result will be worth the small disruptions.”
Through budgeting and careful spending over the last few years, the library has saved money specifically for this project; the remainder of the money is being financed through a Laurel County bank.
“Local library taxes have not increased since 2009,” Mershon said. “Through careful financial planning, this expansion will be paid for without raising local taxes.”
Once construction begins, the library plans to offer updates and photos on their website and social media outlets.
Construction is expected to officially begin this fall and be completed in the fall of 2015.
The library is located off the Ky. 192 bypass in London.