More than nine months after work began, the Community Library's extensive renovation project is nearly in the books.
Crews have been working since May on a variety of projects to renovate the Sunbury library in what ultimately represents an investment of about $1.6 million.
Highlights of the project include a new dropoff window, a 2,000-square-foot expansion, a new roof, carpet and a variety of smaller items inside the library.
Library director and fiscal officer Chauncey Montgomery said the library should be ready for a grand reveal within "the next couple of weeks." Only small, weather-dependent details such as landscaping, concrete and painting remain unfinished.
Montgomery said he originally hoped work could be done as early as October, but despite delays, he's happy with where the library stands.
"It's been good," he said. "With any construction project, especially a renovation, there's some challenges of trying to connect the new to the existing and making sure everything works as well as possible and as seamlessly as possible."
Perhaps the most encouraging part of the process, given its duration, is the fact that the library was able to stay open for all but a few days during the work. The only time customers couldn't be in the library at all was when work was being completed on roof support beams.
"Our goal was to remain open for the entire project, and there were three days we had to close," Montgomery said. "The public was extremely generous and patient with us and we appreciated that."
Now, Montgomery and the library aim to pay back patrons with a better product.
The inside of the library has a streamlined new design that allows for movement to accommodate events, more open spaces and a brighter environment. The front desk was relocated to avoid giving the entrance a lobby feel, Montgomery said.
"When you come in, you don't feel like you're tripping over the desk," he said.
Montgomery cited an instance last year when the library brought in the Central Ohio Symphony for a performance. The former layout left scant room for the musicians, Montgomery said.
"We set them up in the library and we had to set the chairs up in such a way where they went around computer work stations and through some display cases," he said with a laugh. "Now ... we can just unplug the computers, unlock the wheels and move them out of the way completely."
The library has plans for a grand reopening and open house, and Montgomery hopes it will come by the end of March.
But he's not setting anything in stone just yet.
"We keep thinking, 'OK, this would be a good time to do it,' " he said, "and then something happens that pushes the project another week later."