Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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January 26, 2010

Demolition of downtown library complete

To those driving by the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library main library downtown, it may look like not much has happened since it closed Sept. 27 for a $3.6 million renovation.

However, executive director Charles Joray said interior demolition finished on schedule and construction is just beginning.

“The construction firm is starting to have the subcontractors put in everything that goes under the floor or behind the walls or in the ceiling,” Joray said.

He said after nearly seven years of planning, it’s exciting to see work under way.

“It will become more exciting when we actually see some drywall going up and some interior walls being put in. Right now, it’s just an empty shell.”

When the work is done, possibly in early fall 2010, the library, at 220 North Union St., will be “completely different,” he said.

“People won’t even recognize it’s the same library,” Joray said. The main library was built in the late 1960s and has never had a major renovation.

The children’s department, audiovisual and circulation will be on the main level, with the adult books, reference department and computer lab upstairs. The meeting rooms, genealogy and administration will be housed in the basement.

The renovation will roughly double the amount of space open to public use.

The east entrance off the rear parking lot, now only used by library staffers, will become the new main entrance to the building, with a canopy for dropoffs. The current main entrance, on Union Street, will be replaced by a new entrance on the same side of the building.

The checkout desk will be located in the middle of a new downstairs, lit by a combination of natural light from new, floor-to-ceiling windows on the northwest corner of the building, and glass partitions bordering a central corridor.

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