Manhattan Public Libary expansion ahead of schedule

By Bethany Knipp

Construction at the Manhattan Public Library is halfway complete as of this week, and officials expect work to be finished in December.

“We’re really happy to see it moving forward, and it’s very exciting seeing it getting toward the end,” library director Linda Knupp said.

The $2.125 million expansion consists mostly of a new children’s section in the east portion of the library. There will be a large story time room on the first floor with a garden area outside. The expansion also includes a second-floor space, the purpose of which hasn’t been designated yet.

Library employees said the additional children’s space is needed.

“We’ve had as many as 60 people in the room when you count kids and the parents who come in with them, which is really crowded in our space,” Jennifer Adams, the library children’s services manager said.

She said the new room will double the space for story time.

“The construction part has gone really fast and very well,” Knupp said. She said it might even be a little ahead of schedule. After the expansion was approved by the Manhattan City Commission in November of 2013, construction started in January.

A grand opening of the expansion is expected in January 2015.

Currently, passersby and library patrons might see two stories of steel outside the front of the building.

The next step will be adding furniture, which is expected to happen in November, and then getting everything back to normal. Knupp said the library had to make adjustments during construction by using meeting rooms for storage.

In the project’s final phases, the children’s section will be divided into nine “neighborhoods” based on different topics, including science and nature, folklore and transportation.

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