Wauconda library renovation completed; public party planned

  • The kids department at the Wauconda Area Library was renovated as part of a $2 million project. A grand opening celebration is planned for April 18.

      The kids department at the Wauconda Area Library was renovated as part of a $2 million project. A grand opening celebration is planned for April 18. Russell Lissau | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 4/3/2015 4:31 PM

Wauconda Area Library patrons and employees will celebrate the completion of a $2 million interior renovation this month with a daylong bash.

The event, set for April 18, will include tours, a musical performance, contests and other activities for kids, teens and adults.

 

Officials are calling it a grand-opening party even though the library has remained open during the project, aside from a few days.

Library staffers appreciate their customers' patience during the work, which began in November and essentially wrapped up last month, officials said.

"Our patrons have been fantastic," library Director Tom Kern said. "They never complained."

The bulk of the project focused on the children's department, which was gutted and renamed Kid City. The brightly colored downstairs space is loaded with new computers, reading areas, a replica airplane with a slide and cockpit and a giant, touch-screen computer monitor for gaming.

The main level now has a new digital classroom, high-tech study rooms and a lab for digital projects. New space was carved out for teen patrons, too.

"We saw a need to expand the teen space," Kern said. "There's more seating and there's gaming space."

The teen area will get a large touch-screen monitor, too. It can be used for homework, projects and fun activities, Kern said.

In addition to that high-tech device, a few pieces of furniture and some signs are the only elements still missing, Kern said.

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"About 95 percent of the furniture is in place now," he said. "Almost everything was replaced except for the old bookshelves, and those have been renovated as well."

The entire project was funded with money from savings, a loan and a state grant. The library's exterior didn't change.

It came in on time and on budget, Kern said.

"It just really couldn't have gone more smoothly," he said.

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