A late start to construction at the Hennepin County Library in Eden Prairie didn’t throw the work off schedule, and work on the renovated library should be done in December, the project’s manager said.
The library closed on Jan. 7 for a $12.1 million renovation to update the library’s interior, but work didn’t begin until early March for two reasons, project manager Amy Kennedy Fosseen told Eden Prairie News. First, it took two and a half weeks to move the library’s collection out of the building, and another week to dismantle and store the shelves; and second, permitting delays meant that the contractor didn’t move its equipment to the site until early March.
“A lot more still has to happen,” Kennedy Fosseen said. The project was scheduled to be done by late fall, which she noted is Dec. 21, and library staff will have around two weeks to acclimate to their new workplace before it opens to the public.
Crews finished demolishing the interior at the beginning of July, according to a news post from Hennepin County Library, and have begun to build the new, more digitally-friendly library. At this stage, the new interior has just begun to take shape.
“You walk in and you go ‘Hm, what’s that space going to be?’” Kennedy Fosseen said.
The library will include a host of new features, including an environmentally-friendly outdoor design with plenty of seating meant to foster community wellbeing.
“We’re really interested in the health of the community,” Kennedy Fosseen said. “It’s nice to have this little oasis.”
In the old library, both patrons and staff used the meeting rooms available for reservation. When the library reopens, separate meeting rooms will be available for patrons, and they’ll vary in size to fit groups from small gatherings of half a dozen to up to 72 people, Kennedy Fosseen said. Two “wellness rooms” will have a comfortable rocking chair, dimmable lights and a sink; a parent trying to calm a fussy toddler or a person seeking a quiet retreat might find these useful, she suggested. Library staff will have their own separate wellness room. The fireplace, which is “beloved” by patrons, she added, is getting a face-lift, too.
The Eden Prairie library will also be the first in the Hennepin County Library system to have sit-to-stand desks, which patrons can adjust to use while seated, standing or in a wheelchair, Kennedy Fosseen said.