The Westport Library held a special opening reception on June 4 for the new Riverwalk Level and Interim Library. “After nearly a decade in the making, we could not be prouder to finally bring the dream of a new Westport Library to life for the community,” said Westport Library Executive Director Bill Harmer.
A.P. Construction Company was hired to complete the $13.5 million, 40,000 square foot Library Transformation Project. Phase I included renovations allowing the Library to temporarily operate in the lower Riverwalk level while construction of the upper levels is underway. Phase I includes a temporary children’s area, as well as new finishes and furniture. An additional element of Phase I that is still under construction is a “Grand Staircase” along Jessup Green that will bring patrons from the Riverwalk Level to the Main Level.
Construction on Phase II has now begun and is expected to be completed in the summer of 2019. In an effort to keep the Library’s services available during construction, the Library’s collection was temporarily moved into the Riverwalk Level while construction began on the two upper levels. Once renovated, the library will have a new forum on the Main Level for keynote speakers, conferences, and performances. It will also include a grandstand viewing area, and a new stage with a large video screen.
“During this phase, the Great Hall will be transformed into the Forum – a large, flexible open space on the main floor that can be used for daily meeting and study and reconfigured to accommodate up to 650 people for large events. The Main Level will also feature more study space, highly visible customer service points, an exceptional collection of digital and physical materials (including audio/visual materials, new releases, curated collections of popular materials), the Library’s store, an expanded Café, including outdoor seating, plus a new recording studio and expanded Maker Space,” said Harmer.
Surrounding the new forum will be new conference rooms, program rooms, employee offices and a patron café. New energy efficient mechanical systems, modernized restrooms, and a new elevator will also be installed.
Additional renovations during Phase II will include the Children’s Library which will be more functional and have visible activity areas that allow for enjoyable views of the Jesup Green and River. These renovations will create more opportunities for young people to dig into books, socialize, study, collaborate on group projects or attend classes or programs.
A.P. Construction’s team overseeing the project include: Sean Hurley, Project Manager, Jake Granito, Assistant Project Manager, and Scott Marlow, Superintendent.