Representatives from King & King Architects and Hueber-Breuer Construction break ground on the new DeWitt Community Library building, along with New York State Senator John DeFrancisco, second from left, DCL Director Wendy Scott, second from right, and Mary Keib Smith, last, DCL Board of Trustees president. (Hayleigh Gowans)
By Hayleigh Gowans
The DeWitt Community Library is one step closer to being able to move into its 24,000-square-foot freestanding library following a groundbreaking ceremony on Oct. 28 at the site, 5100 Jamesville Road in DeWitt.
Local dignitaries, library staff, the library board of trustees, community members and representatives from the architecture firm King & King Architects and Hueber-Breuer Construction gathered to signify the construction of the building, which is expected to open summer 2017. For the past decade, the library had been trying to move out of its limited rented space at ShoppingTown Mall and into a larger building so they can offer more services to patrons.
“The project is the culmination of many years of planning,” said DCL Director Wendy Scott. “Although we are very proud of our half century of service to the town of DeWitt … public libraries are rapidly evolving and our current space is not adequate to provide many of the services and collections that our residents demand and deserved.”
The new library will include an expanded teen area, quiet study areas, a dedicated area for children’s programming, meeting areas, rooms for tutoring, outdoor space for meetings and programming and a dedicated area to be used as a maker space.
The library relocation project is expected to cost somewhere around $8.3 million, but almost $3 million has been set aside by the library, according to Scott. In the May 17, 2016 library budget vote, an additional $54,526 was approved over the 2015 tax levy, which has resulted in a tax rate of $88.69 per $100,000 home assessed value.
“I’m so happy for this day,” said New York State Senator John DeFrancisco at the groundbreaking. “It was so needed in this community. It was almost an embarrassment to know that this community didn’t have their own separate space for their library and for the community.”
In July 2016, the library was awarded $250,000 from the NYS State and Municipal Grant Program to support the construction of a creation lab, community meeting room and children’s learning center in the new library, and $155,762 in funding for property acquisition from the NYS Public Library Construction Grant Program administered through the Division of Library Development at the NYS Education Department.
Announced at the groundbreaking was a capital campaign the library is undertaking to reach a goal of raising $1 million for the library, with $400,000 already raised.
The new library “will embrace the possibilities of what a modern library can be,” said Scott. “[It] is conceived as a community space, a gathering space and an inspiring space to learn.”
To learn more about the project, or how to contribute to the campaign, go to dewhome.wordpress.com.
I am a reporter for the Eagle Bulletin and Cazenovia Republican at Eagle News. I report on topics ranging from town and village government, business, news and features. I am a 2014 graduate of the Roy H. Park School of Communications and have a degree in Journalism and a minor in Psychology.