Library marks start of work on $800,000 expansion project

By Corene Brisendine

Manhattan Public Library marked the start of its expansion with a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday afternoon.

Community members filled the library auditorium to mark the occasion.

Manhattan Public Library director Linda Knupp said that it was nice to see so many people attend the ceremony, which included party favors, treats and a special performance by musicians Anne and Pete Sibley, who were in town to play at Manhattan Arts Center.

Knupp said that the project was made possible by donors throughout the community who gave $800,000 to enhance the children’s library wing.

The expansion includes a two-story addition and an outdoor garden area where children can read and play.

The ground floor will include a large activity room and a second room where several activity stations will be set up.

Knupp said the activity stations will focus on children’s topics like graphic novels, animals, fairy tales and folklore.

The second floor space is to remain empty until the library needs it at some future date.

Construction is to be complete by November.

Knupp said construction actually began prior to the ceremony. But she said the real work will begin next week when crews begin moving the utility lines and placing the building pads.

City commissioners Karen McCulloh, Rich Jankovich, Usha Reddi and Wynn Butler were on hand for the groundbreaking.

Also in attendance was a former mayor and city commissioner, Rep. Tom Phillips, R-Manhattan.

“When I was mayor, it was always important to me to support the library,” he said. “It is especially important for the children. I’m happy to be here and show my support.”

While library and public officials posed for the first spade of dirt, six children from Northview Elementary also got to turn a spade or two for helping to raise money for the expansion with a school fundraiser last year.

Knupp said that this is the third and final expansion for the library at its current location on the corner of Poyntz and Juliette avenues because there is no more room to grow.

Brice Hobrock, president of the library’s board of trustees, said that he remembered when the library was at its original location in the Carnegie Building, downtown.

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