Arlington Heights Library moving ahead on $1.1 million upgrade for new makerspace

  • The former Arlington Heights teen center building at 112 N. Belmont Ave. will be transformed into the Arlington Heights Memorial Library's new makerspace.

    The former Arlington Heights teen center building at 112 N. Belmont Ave. will be transformed into the Arlington Heights Memorial Library's new makerspace. Daily Herald File Photo 2009

Posted4/24/2020 5:20 AM

The Arlington Heights Memorial Library is moving ahead with plans to transform the shuttered village teen center building into the library's new makerspace.

While acknowledging the uncertainty of construction bid prices, and that their original construction timeline could face delays amid the COVID-19 pandemic, library board trustees this week doubled down on their commitment to see the project through.


"This is something that we've told this community we're going to do, and to a certain degree I think in this time frame and what we're going through, it's important that we actually do things like this to help out the community," board President Greg Zyck said. "I do believe this is a help to the community in what we're going to be offering there."

The library has proposed to convert the 8,000-square-foot building at 112 N. Belmont Ave. -- blocks from the main library campus on Dunton Avenue -- into a collaborative workspace where patrons could make things using high-tech tools, such as 3-D printers, laser cutters and vinyl cutters, or more traditional tools, such as sewing, embroidery and quilting machines. There would also be a small-business incubator space for owners and entrepreneurs to network, and a commercial kitchen for cooking classes.

The latest estimate to get the building in working order is $1.1 million. That would include installing a new roof and heating and cooling systems, constructing new interior walls, reconfiguring the entry vestibule for accessibility, making bathrooms accessible, installing interior finishes such as flooring, cabinetry and counters, and refinishing the driveway.

The library plans to pay for the work with general funds and reserves, though it's also relying on grants and donations. That would include $150,000 in state funds and $50,000 from the Arlington Heights Memorial Library Foundation, in addition to the foundation's $100,000 in-kind donation of equipment.

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Since the village handed over keys to the building last summer, the library completed its own engineering assessment and patched some roof leaks to ensure the building is sealed, library spokeswoman Mary Hastings said.

Williams Architects, the Itasca-based firm designing the project, is nearing completion on architectural plans. This week, the library board agreed to hire Elgin-based Shales McNutt Construction as construction manager.

Officials say they plan to go to bid on the roofing and heating and cooling systems work first and complete those improvements before going out to bid on the rest of the renovation work late this summer or early fall.

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