Construction Starts At Pottstown Regional Library

POTTSTOWN PA – Construction got under way Tuesday (May 31, 2016) at the Pottstown Regional Public Library, 500 E. High St., and although its staff hopes to keep the place operational while the building renovation progresses, Executive Director Susan Davis said some temporary adjustments may be needed in areas frequently used by patrons.

Public spaces inside the regional library, public computers, its entrance, and some programs might be required to shrink, grow or be rescheduled during periods of major exterior and interior renovations being undertaken by SMJ Contracting Inc. of Douglassville, and supervised by Pottstown architect Dick Frantz, Davis said.

For example, Davis reported, this summer’s reading for children program has been conceived as a “Library on the Move,” thanks to assistance from Art Fusion, the Pottstown YMCA, Connections on High, ACLAMO Family Center, Althouse Arboretum, and Wyndcroft School. She said the staff expects to notify patrons of any changes through local media, the library website, Facebook, and Twitter.

A long-range plan created by the regional library staff, its board members, and community representatives puts a priority on accessibility, safety, energy efficiency, and space issues. The just-begun work, funded by a Keystone Grant awarded in January 2015 by the state’s Bureau of Commonwealth Libraries, will involve:

  • Redesign and repair of the front entrance to address accessibility issues and resolve water issues and structural deterioration;
  • Reconfiguring existing space for better program management, increased accessibility, and improved services to children, families, adults, and the disabled; and
  • Upgrades to library engineering systems – lighting, electric, cabling, phone, and security – to meet current standards and provide a safe environment.

Additional funding for the project, Davis said, comes from the Pottstown Health and Wellness Foundation, the Arcadia Foundation, and the Friends of the Pottstown Regional Public Library.

Completing the task list represents only the latest round of regional library renovations, she also noted.

  • During 2013 and 2014, the regional library tackled two critical needs: the roof and its heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system. Since January 2013, the library has spent $230,338 on capital projects. A Community Block Development Grant of $59,785 paid for the roof replacement.
  • In the early 1980s, a set of major renovations transformed the basement level into public space, replaced south-facing windows, added a wheelchair ramp, added an external stair tower, and replaced the existing elevator.

The building, a former U.S. Post Office, is 101 years old; its conversion into the library occurred in 1961. It consists of a main floor, basement and upper floor, each roughly 6,000 square feet in size. Its footprint is 100 feet wide by 60 feet deep.

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