Crews Make Progress on New Cedar Rapids West Side Library

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

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By Rachel Begle

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The Cedar Rapids Public Library is turning the pages on a new chapter for the west side library.

About three months remain until it's time to open the doors on the new branch. Library leaders said they don't think people realize how big this project is.

“I think, in a way, it will be a bit of a surprise that the west side library will be of this quality and of this caliber library,” Cedar Rapids Public Library Director Bob Pasicznyuk said.

Since the flood, the library has called Westdale Mall its home. When the organization took its first steps toward the construction of a new central library in downtown, many were concerned about a continued presence of organization on the west side of town. Pasicznyuk noted that several library-goers have still been asking what’s happening. The answer is: the west side branch is simply moving across the street.

Crews started renovating a portion of the old Target building at 3750 Williams Blvd about a month and a half ago. It is quickly transforming into the new home of the west side library.

“The big challenge in here is we’ve already got the building, we’ve already got the structure and something moving this fast is getting all of the material here on time to get it installed,” Ryan Companies US, Inc. Senior Superintendent Jim Kramer said.

The west branch will share some of the glitz and glam with the downtown library by having the same furniture, modern look and wide open space.

“We’ve got a community room that will suit groups of 75. In the front, we’ve got 20 personal computers in the technology area. It has the same parts and components of the downtown library, just in a smaller space,” Pasicznyuk said.

Library workers said they planned to start moving 70,000 books and several shelving units to the newly renovated building in mid-February. A volunteer coordinator was recently hired to help round up helping hands for the move.

Library staff members are planning on a tentative opening date of Feb. 23, 2013.

“We have mechanical systems running over head and we’re racing here against winter a little bit to get the outside work completed, so we can open on time,” Kramer said.

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