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Renovated library should delight many patrons

Only a slight delay has affected the completion date, now set for February

Frequent users of the Sandy Public Library are likely to feel they are in a new library when the ongoing renovation is complete next February.

Even though three of the four existing walls are being used in the renovated library, the building will have a new feel.

Library patrons will walk through the front doors at the northwest corner of the building into a slate-covered natural-light entry with walls two stories high, surrounded by windows and covered with skylights.

That open and well-lighted entryway faces the circulation desk, which fronts staff offices and a natural-wood-walled work area at the former mezzanine level.

A ramp to the left leads to the main floor and the children's area (near where the outside entrance used to be). Also in that vicinity is a quiet reading area near a fireplace.

First-time visitors to the newly renovated library will be amazed, says Library Director Beth Scarth, when they see the multitude of artificial trees covering the children's bookcases.

'As you walk up the ramp, it will look like a forest,' she said. 'It's going to be a real striking feature. It'll be very nice.'

In that same vicinity is space set aside for audio-visual materials and an area of interest to young adults.

At the south end of the building, accessed by another ramp, one can find materials for adult interests, a quiet study room and an area for the sale of materials by the Friends of the Sandy Public Library.

At the southwest corner of the building (formerly the police department) is a program/community room, which can be scheduled for use outside of library hours. Restrooms are located near the community room.

One of the new features, which the city should be receiving before the renovated library is reopened, is self-checkout machines. And a drop box will be set up in the alley on the south side of the building.

Catalog computers are supposed to be at various places around the library, and a bank of Internet computers is planned in the young adult area.

'We're hoping to have laptop computers,' Scarth said, 'that can be checked out and used inside the building.'

She said having laptops in the library is a stated goal, and availability of funding will determine when it will occur.

The free Wi-Fi will return to the library, and Scarth is hoping the speed would improve when the county's fiber ring is connected to SandyNet.

The building will have a lot of woodwork, inside and outside, Scarth said, following the Sandy style of design for downtown structures.

'There will be posts and columns that are wood,' she said. 'It's going to be very rustic-looking, following the Cascadia (Sandy) style. And there will be (stonework) all around the building (exterior).'

The estimated $2 million renovation was made possible with a one-time grant from the county library system of $1 million and capital grants from the Ford Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, Collins Foundation and the Oregon Community Fund. Any additional funding needed would be from contingencies and loans.

Fred Gast of Portland is the project's architect.