Abbot Library Foundation gets a first look at renovations

From left, Gary Amberik, chair of the Abbot Public Library (APL) board of trustees and chair of the building rennovation committee, Meryl Thompson, VP of APL Foundation, APL trustee Deb Payson, APL Foundation member Phyllis Smith (not seen), APL Director Kim Grad, and APL Foundation President EuRim Chun, take a selfie as they tour the renovation project at the library on Friday. Photo by Spenser Hasak

Members of the Abbot Public Library Foundation had the opportunity to walk through the library Friday morning to see the progress on the building’s ongoing renovations. Construction on the $9 million project began Jan. 25, and there are already some noticeable changes.

Foundation President EuRim Chun said one of the biggest changes she noticed was how open the space has become.

“You can’t even imagine if you walked into this library before today, that we had this much space,” Chun said. “The first word that came to my mind is transformation, transformation within the same footprint where it really is going to take on a different personality.”

The opportunities that will be brought on by the newly renovated library is something she is really looking forward to.

“By definition libraries are endless opportunities but with space like this, the integration of the older people that come in to the kids that come here to the teens, people are going to have opportunities to mix and interact in a way that we’ve never had, which is so exciting,” Chun said.

Building Renovation Committee Chair Gary Amberik said the construction team is at the very end of the demolition phase. The next steps will include electrical and mechanical work and wall framing, he said.

Amberik, who is also the chair of the Abbot Public Library Board of Trustees, has been at the library at least once a week since construction began. Library Director Kimberly Grad has also gone there to see updates on the project each week.

“There’s amazing progress,” Grad said. “It’s just wonderful to see it every week.”

Amberik echoed Chun’s sentiment about the possibilities the renovations will bring.

“Once you take out the old ceilings and all the book stacks, there’s a really good open space to work with,” he said.

He said he is most excited about opening back up to the public.

“I really can’t wait to finish out the process, to see all this hard work come together and move the library back in,” Amberik said.

In a previous interview with The Item, he said that the main focus of the renovations is the building’s infrastructure, including its electrical and heating systems. Amberik said that due to the involved nature of these renovations, they will also use the opportunity to paint the entire building, and replace its ceilings and carpeting.

Along with those updates, the library will be getting sound equipment for recording podcasts, a 3D printer, new furniture, a new elevator, and more.

Based on the project’s timeline, the renovated library will be ready to open in spring 2024.