CLEVELAND — Crews will begin to break ground on a series of major renovations to the West Park branch of the Cleveland Public Library.
For more than two decades, Rick Jenkins has cleaned and cared for the West Park Library.
“Working with the older buildings is a little tough because you do have the problems of an older building,” said Jenkins.
The custodial supervisor for the Cleveland Public Library says updating and renovating the branch will open up a lot of doors for community members.
“They’re going to love it,” Jenkins said.
Starting July 17, crews will begin transforming the nearly 100-year-old building.
Renovation and expansion highlights include the following:
- Removing the dropped ceiling that was added in the 1970s
- Restoring the original vaulted ceiling and dormers to flood the interior with natural light
- Reopening the original West 157th Street entrance to offer better pedestrian access
- Improved access to the building’s lower level
- Flexible spaces with additional meeting rooms, an improved children’s area, modern amenities, and more
“We recognize it is time to invest in the buildings and grounds of the library so that’s what we’re doing,” said John Lang, COO of the CPL.
Lang says they are re-imagining the entire building and adding services, programming and spaces that are currently missing from this branch.
“The services libraries have provided have evolved over time and Cleveland Public Library wants to meet the needs of the community,” Lang said “We’re going to have advanced technology, a new teen space, a new children's space.”
At the same time, crews will restore the charm and character of the historical space.
“This is a real gem for the community, this building.”
With that in mind, Lang said it is important to get it right.
“It’s going to turn into more of a community living room, less a building for a collection and more a place for the community to gather.”
Jenkins said the community is ready.
“They’re excited. They can’t wait to see what’s coming up.”
The renovations are scheduled to take about a year and the community will be able to enjoy the space again next summer.
The West Park branch isn’t the only library gearing up for changes. The Jefferson branch in Tremont is now under construction as well—transforming into a community library. Renovations are expected to last until spring.
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