The Forest Park Public Library | File photo

Forest Park Public Library construction projects will leave the lower level closed until at least November.

The construction project involves relatively routine interior repairs. The library will replace the elevator, redo lighting and ceiling tiles on both the lower and main level, replace doors at the entrance, repair windows and do some other minor maintenance. But this will require the lower level to be closed during the first phase of the project, which is expected to last between September and November. Patrons will still be able to check out materials from the lower level – they will just have to ask staff to retrieve them.

According to the project page on the library website, the first phase will be lower-level renovations, while the second phase will involve repairs on the main floor. During Phase 1, the main community room will function as a temporary youth services space. While most of the teen materials will still be stored at the lower level, some will be available in the community room. Because of this, patrons won’t be able to reserve the Community Room starting Aug. 26.

Shelly, the library turtle, will be moved to the community room during Phase 1.

The lower level will reopen during Phase 2, but areas may be closed off during repairs. This phase includes completely replacing both the outer doors and doors to the main area and replace the windows, along with the same kind of lighting and ceiling tile replacement as the lower level.

The study rooms and the Quiet Room will be off-limits to general patrons starting Aug. 26 and Sept. 1, respectively, for the duration of the project. Those spaces will be used as temporary staff spaces and for storage. While the Young Adult Lounge will continue to operate, it will be used for library board meetings and some programs.

Due to the space limits, the library won’t be accepting donations starting Aug. 26.

The library is paying for the project using its existing capital budget. While it hopes to complete Phase 2 by December, the project page is upfront about the fact that construction projects sometimes run into unexpected delays, so it may take longer. 

“Phase 2 is scheduled to begin in November but the exact timeline will depend on how smoothly Phase 1 goes,” it states. “The entire project is scheduled to be completed in December assuming we do not run into unanticipated delays.”

The project comes two years after the library completed $1.35 million in more substantial renovations. Most notably, that included expanding the youth services section, building a new, separate teen area on the main floor, moving the staff offices to the lower level, and building four new study rooms and the Quiet Room. The project began in September 2019 and ended in late January 2020. 

The library describes this project as smaller updates that it was always planning to do a few years down the line.