Westfield Washington Public Library construction nears completion

By Lauren Olsen

The $2 million construction project at Westfield Washington Public Library is getting closer to its completion date, and the grand reopening is scheduled for May.

“It’s close to being on schedule. We have had a couple setbacks, but we’re hoping to be done the middle to the end of February,” Library Director Sheryl Sollars said, adding the original completion date was planned for Christmas. “I knew that was optimistic.”

Sollars said construction has hit a few bumps along the way and lost a few days of because of the snow, but all in all things have gone smoothly.

“I’m really proud of the fact that we stayed open through this,” she said. “My staff has been phenomenal through this whole thing.”

As far as staying on budget, Sollars said construction has gone over “a little, but not too bad.” With all of the necessary changes and the budget constraints, the remodel/addition did not allow for items such as furniture, equipment, landscaping or other amenities. Sollars said the library is currently running a capital campaign to help raise money and put the final touches on the project. The library is currently accepting donations.

To date, the construction crew has completed the adult area and four new study rooms. Although much progress has been made, the crew still needs to finish the addition (which will house the community room, new teen area and first-floor addition to the children’s department), computer lab, circulation desk, audiovisual area and public restrooms, as well as renovate the existing children’s area.

The addition of the 1,500-square-foot community room gives the library much-needed space. “Now we will have the space to be able to have programs here,” Sollars said.

These programs were previously held in other locations due to the lack of space. The community room will also be available to outside groups.

Another brand-new addition to the library is the computer lab. Plans call to hold classes such as basic and advanced social media, introduction to Ebooks, and basic and advanced classes in Microsoft Word, among many others.

“This has been really exciting to watch everything change,” Sollars said.