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Genoa library to break ground on expansion Friday

GENOA – After a decade of planning, the Genoa Public Library will break ground on its $2.3 million expansion Friday.

The expansion will increase the size of the library at 232 W. Main St. from 3,400 to 6,000 square feet, giving relief to staff and patrons who have felt the library was cramped in its current space.

“The building has let us know it’s old and needs some work,” said library board President Michele Dvorak. “I think it’s just a natural progression.”

Construction company Shales McNutt wanted to start construction as soon as possible once board members accepted bids for the expansion, which happened Monday. The company plans to start work on Aug. 4 and complete construction by early 2015.

Library leaders are encouraging community members to bring their own shovels to the groundbreaking ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

Library Director Jen Barton said the realization Monday that the project was actually going to happen left her speechless.

“I think I was caught up in the moment,” Barton said. “It’s something we’ve been working on for a long time. It’s certainly been a journey.”

Library leaders have planned for an expansion for at least a decade, purchasing the vacant lot next to the library in 2010. They also applied for a library construction grant from the state in 2012, but were denied because there were not enough funds in the grant program.

Most of the funding came from a $1.7 million endowment from the Robert Weiss estate. Barton said the library invested the money and savings left over at the end of the year. The endowment and savings will pay for the entire expansion.

The library houses 30,000 items, including DVDs, books and magazines, which will move to the new building where staff will run day-to-day operations. Dewberry Architects designed the building and still has some interior designing left to complete, Dvorak said.

The current building, which is more than a century old, will get some cosmetic touchups, though officials don’t expect the library to be closed during construction.

“It’s going to be an integral part of the library plan,” Dvorak said.

Half of the old building will be used for meeting and community space, while the other half will be used for storage. A walkway will connect the old and new buildings.

If you go

What: Genoa Public Library expansion groundbreaking

When: 5:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Genoa Public Library, 232 Main St., Genoa

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