McHENRY – The McHenry Public Library is slated to get a face-lift over the next few months.
The Board of Trustees recently hired Ringwood-based architectural firm Gillespie Design Group to create a new floor plan for the building. Construction on the up-to-$3 million project could start as early as mid-October, said Bill Edminster, assistant library director.
The move is meant to hold over the library building at 809 Front St. for five to seven years. That’s when officials hope that the economy will improve so they can try to pass a referendum to fund a new building, Edminster said. Their last attempt to pass a referendum failed in November.
“There’s a lot of things we need to try to do to make this place better for the time that we’re going to be here,” Edminster said.
The main part of the project, which is set to be completed within six to 10 months, will include a sort of expansion in the building’s back warehouse area.
The goal will be to renovate that section, previously occupied by the FISH of McHenry Food Pantry, into an area for meeting rooms, group study and staff.
“We want to give back some of the space that we’ve taken away from the public [as we’ve grown],” Edminster said. “There would be more opportunities for soft seating and some tables.”
Also on the list of repairs is a remodeled vestibule. Edminster said that project might mean that the library would have to close for a few days during construction.
“[Unless] we can manage to create a new temporary entrance,” he said. “We’re committed to trying to stay open as much as possible.”
Aside from interior renovations, Edminster said, there’s also plans to redo the parking lot to address grading and flood issues.
Funding for the renovations will come in part from about $2 million the library has in reserve funds. An additional $600,000 will come from Recovery Zone bonds, and if needed, the rest will come from a bank loan.
The bonds and possible loan then would be paid back through normal revenue streams such as impact fees. Officials hope to keep the project at about $2.5 million so they won’t need the bank loan, Edminster said.