The basement bathrooms at the Helen Plum Memorial Library in Lombard will be getting a makeover later this year, and the library is seeking grant funding to cover about a quarter of the project's cost.
Accessibility improvements to the women's and men's restrooms downstairs are part of a $220,000 project that also includes conversion of a video projection room into a kitchenette, addition of a movable dividing wall in the multipurpose room and walling off a storage area, library Director Bob Harris said.
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"Accessibility is the No. 1 priority for this. The intention is to remodel our basement bathrooms," Harris said. "We want to reconfigure the entire space occupied by both of those bathrooms so that each one will have one ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible toilet stall."
Harris said the library is submitting an application this week for the Live and Learn Construction grant, which provides up to $50,000 for library accessibility projects and other remodeling work.
The grant is run by the secretary of state's office and funded by an annual appropriation from the state legislature, said Patrick McGuckin, spokesman for the Illinois State Library.
Harris said he expects to hear by April whether the library will receive the $50,000 it is requesting.
Even without the grant, the project will go on, he said. The library has enough money in a reserve fund dedicated to building work to pay for the renovations.
"Even if we have to pay for the whole thing, the money comes from existing reserves," Harris said. "We're not raising taxes."
A similar accessibility grant gave the library $34,000 toward a $68,000 renovation of its elevator system in 2008. The library also made accessibility improvements to its upstairs restrooms in 1999, but without the use of grant funding.
With or without state money this time around, Harris said renovations should begin in late summer.
"It's a two-month project altogether," Harris said. "We're looking at starting in early August and concluding in October."