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story.lead_photo.caption NWA Democrat-Gazette/DAVID GOTTSCHALK Work continues Monday on the Fayetteville Public Library's expansion. The more than 80,000-square-foot addition has most of the utility and foundation work completed, with an expected completion date of October next year.

FAYETTEVILLE -- It won't be long before the 82,500-square-foot expansion connects to the main library.

Library board members on Monday heard an update on the expansion's progress from Executive Director David Johnson. Most of the building pad, utility work and concrete foundation is complete, he said.

The campaign

Learn more about the library’s campaign to raise about $23 million to finish the expansion.

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Steel work also has begun, beginning with the basement, Johnson said. Construction will move eastward from there before crews face north, across Rock Street. Then the expansion will attach to the main library building.

By November or December, library patrons should expect a big hole on the south side of the building, Johnson said.

"We are going to sit down and revisit the plan about the renovation and the shifting of people," he said. "We'll begin that work here shortly."

The library board signed off on a plan in October to keep operations going during renovation and expansion construction.

The expanded library is set to open in October next year.

"Everything is on time and on budget and we're moving forward," Johnson said.

Bret Park, board member and architect, said getting the basic foundations of a building complete represents a milestone in any project. Connecting the framework of the expansion to the main building ought to make the reality of the project sink in, he said.

"This is the beginning of one of the most satisfying times of construction, where the sort of underground, invisible portions of the work are complete," Park said. "Framing goes really quickly. It's exhilarating to see."

Lynn Yandell, the library's director of Information Technology, said he attended the American Library Association's annual conference in Washington last month. Many of the features libraries across the country are trying to fit into their facilities, such as 24/7 innovation spaces, will be included in the expanded library, he said.

"We're really going to have every piece that everyone else is grasping for," Yandell said.

City voters in August 2016 approved a property tax increase and a nearly $27 million bond issue to help pay for the $49 million cost of construction. The library also is in the middle of a capital campaign to cover the rest of the cost.

The expansion will double the size of youth services and add an innovation center and 700-seat multipurpose venue. A genealogy and local history section will be added. The library also will have more meeting, study and collaboration space. A courtyard with green space will lie outside. The library also will hold more material.

NW News on 07/16/2019

Print Headline: Expansion completion creeping closer

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