[March 7, 2008] This spring Rhode Islanders will see two new public libraries blossom as two major construction projects near completion. The Jesse M. Smith Memorial Library in Burrillville was completed earlier this year ahead of schedule. The old Jesse Smith Library will close its doors for good on March 9 as the staff moves into the new library. A moving company will move the books and contents of the library into its new quarters the week of March 10. The library will then have 2 weeks to get all systems up and running. The new library will open on April 1 - no fooling! A grand opening celebration is planned for Sunday, April 27.
The current Jesse Smith Library is 6200 square feet, whereas the new library is nearly 25,000 square feet. While it will be much larger, Director Sandra Mundy intends to keep the small library spirit alive in the new quarters. The new library includes many amenities not found in the smaller library, such as a large community meeting room, a local history room, a spacious new children's room with its own activities room, and ample space for all collections. The new library is situated on the Clear River and will have its own Riverwalk with outdoor seating and the potential for outdoor programs. The total cost of the project is estimated at $8.1 million; the State of Rhode Island will reimburse nearly $3.7 million through the OLIS construction reimbursement program.
The Rogers Free Library in Bristol is also moving rapidly towards completion. Exterior work is largely complete on the 22,000 square foot addition, and interior work is well underway. The existing 6200 square foot building is also being renovated; the two buildings will meld seamlessly into a new library of slightly over 28,000 square feet. The building is scheduled to be completed in July 2008. The Rogers Free Library has temporarily taken up residence in a former video store in a Bristol shopping center. Originally the library was going to continue operations at its Hope Street location, but was able to secure an off-site location which has resulted in construction moving at a quicker pace than originally scheduled. The total cost of the project is estimated at $9.9 million; the State of Rhode Island will reimburse nearly $3.9 million through the OLIS construction reimbursement program.
For more pictures and information about the Bristol and Burrillville library construction projects, visit OLIS' Construction Projects page.