Nearly $700K in makerspace upgrades approved for Arlington Heights library

  • A sketch shows the proposed main makerspace area within the 8,000-square-foot building on Belmont Avenue the Arlington Heights Memorial Library plans to renovate.

    A sketch shows the proposed main makerspace area within the 8,000-square-foot building on Belmont Avenue the Arlington Heights Memorial Library plans to renovate. Courtesy of Arlington Heights Memorial Library

  • A two-story, 8,000-square-foot building on Belmont Avenue in Arlington Heights that once served as the first stand-alone library is being transformed into the library's proposed state-of-the-art makerspace.

    A two-story, 8,000-square-foot building on Belmont Avenue in Arlington Heights that once served as the first stand-alone library is being transformed into the library's proposed state-of-the-art makerspace. Courtesy of Arlington Heights Memorial Library

 
 
Posted12/8/2020 5:30 AM

Arlington Heights library trustees Monday approved nearly $700,000 worth of bids to get their long-awaited stand-alone makerspace building in working order.

The renovation project has been beset by construction delays amid the pandemic, and accumulated additional sewer, roof, electrical and plumbing costs since the library acquired the building at 112 N. Belmont Ave. from the village in the summer of 2019.

 

And after initial bid prices came back higher than expected in July, officials went back to the drawing board to revise the project's scope and bring it back under a $724,000 budget.

That led to new, lower prices submitted by contractors during a public bid opening Nov. 24, and on Monday night, the board approving bid packages worth $694,452 for a host of building upgrades expected to begin early next year.

"I know we did have to cut back on some areas," board President Greg Zyck said during a meeting held virtually. "But we're doing the right thing to get this thing really going, and we're doing a very good job for the people of the village."

The two-story, 8,000-square-foot building across the street from Recreation Park was the first stand-alone village library in 1952, but was later used by the village and a church as a teen center. In 2018, library officials expressed interest in getting back the building to transform it into a do-it-yourself workspace concept housing 3-D printers, laser cutters, computers and a commercial kitchen.

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The renovation costs represent about half of the $1.4 million budgeted for the makerspace project, with the other half earmarked for equipment. Another $587,430 is budgeted for general operations, with the lion's share dedicated to salary and benefits, according to the library's 2021 budget.

While much of the major renovation work has faced delays, the board in June did approve $151,360 to replace the building's heating and cooling systems.

The library is funding the project through a mix of general funds, reserves, grants and donations. That includes $150,000 in state grants for construction and accessibility improvements, and donations and equipment from the Arlington Heights Memorial Library Foundation and the Friends of the Library.

The building is planned for opening next summer or fall.

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