PRINCETON: Work on library’s second-floor renovation could start in late April

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By Philip Sean Curran, Staff Writer
The renovation of the Princeton Public Library could start as soon as late April and take an estimated six to eight months to complete, library officials said Tuesday.
The “2Reimagine” project will involve closing the second floor to public access while a 60-seat quiet reading room and other improvements are made to a building that opened in 2004. Overall, the project will cost roughly $3 million, with so-called soft-costs for consultants part of that figure.
The library will remain open during construction with some of the books and computers now on the second floor moved to the first floor. Some of that moving around has already started.
“Most of the books that are going to stay here during construction are going to be downstairs,” said library executive director Brett Bonfield on Tuesday. “In addition to PCs, we’re actually increasing the number of laptops so that we keep close to the same number of computers available.”
His comments came after the library board of trustees meeting, when officials were updated about a project that was conceived under Mr. Bonfield’s predecessor, Leslie Burger. The library plans to put the project out to public bid this week, have bids due by the middle of March and then have the trustees select the winning construction firm.
Library trustee Pam Wakefield said at the meeting that the earliest construction start date would be around April 25.
During that work, patrons will not be able to access the second floor, but they still will be able to use the staircase and the elevator to get from the first floor to the third floor.
“The entire second floor will be blocked off,” said Janet Simon, the head of fundraising at the library who is serving as the project manager for 2Reimagine. Ms. Simon previously worked an architect in the private sector and oversaw major projects in that capacity.
Library staff members have been preparing by moving some of the book collection downstairs. Banners inside the building remind patrons that the renovation is coming, although it was not clear what day the second floor will close.
“We’re going to keep it open as long as we possibly can,” Mr. Bonfield said.
Books from the second floor collection that are not kept at the library are going to off-site storage.

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