Major renovation project at New Milford library on schedule

Photo of Sandra Diamond Fox

NEW MILFORD — The complete renovation of the New Milford Public Library is in progress and on schedule, according to Mayor Pete Bass. Once the work is completed, the library will be a “state-of-the-art facility,” he said.

The project involves a mixture of utilizing existing space and constructing new areas, including adding a second floor to the 1977 addition. Also added will be more meeting space, a new facade and entrance, and a new makerspace, which can focus on technology or activities.

Bass said the project is a “wonderful corroborative endeavor” with everyone involved. “The town is committed to this project and things are going pretty smoothly.”

The 18-month-long project began last July and is expected to be completed by year-end, with a complete reopening of the library at 24 Main St. in January 2022.

The project is expected to cost $8.5 million. Residents approved borrowing $6.5 million for it, the state awarded a $1 million grant and the library’s board of trustees committed the remaining $1 million.

“Currently our contractor, Millennium Builders (in Bloomfield), is working on the demolition inside the building, especially the main interior,” Bass said.

The library has also received some of the steel it will be using, “so you’ll be seeing some of the steel girders being put up,” said Bass, adding an elevator shaft is being worked on as well.

The library will be utilizing the most current trends in furniture, according to Project Manager Steven Vazquez. As an example, he said, the new furniture is going to be easily cleanable and movable, so it can have multipurpose uses in one room.

“We have some rooms that might be used for conferences, but that table and chair might be set up on rollers so we can push that furniture to one side and have a storytime for kids. Then the next day, we might have a different function going on in that same space,” said Vazquez.

The library will continue to remain open and operating during the entire construction period.

“It’s made of three parts, and we moved all the books that were in two of the parts out to storage, but we kept the third part of the library operating and doing curbside delivery,” Vazquez said. “Eventually, there will be a renovation and modernization of the third part of the library.”

Although the library building is closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s still playing a large role in the community.

“On an average day, about 100 books go out of the library. Additionally, there are a large number of live online programs like storytime or adult coloring, creative writing, games and chess,” he said.

Vazquez expressed enthusiasm for the project and for the future of the library.

“Parts of this library are very old and historic, and they are right here on Main Street in New Milford. It’s very exciting to be part of this whole project,” Vazquez said. “We’re going to take this historic building and bring it into the 21st century.”

sfox@milfordmirror.com