Home Haddonfield News Which Haddonfield library addition is the best?

Which Haddonfield library addition is the best?

Progress is being made with the decades old quandary over what to do at the Haddonfield Public Library.

Library Director Susan Briant said the library will be staying at its current location and plans for opening up a new library somewhere else in the borough are all but dead.

“The commissioners have made a decision to add on to the existing building. They held a library board debate on the subject. This is the site — no other site will be looked at,” Briant said.

The debate for a new facility had been discussed for decades, but in the past three years, the library board threw its weight behind either building a new facility at the same site or another location in Haddonfield.

The board looked at and considered the Persian Rug Store on Kings Highway as a central borough location, and also the parking lot behind Lantern Lane.

Both of those options would have cost close to $10 million to complete.

Haddonfield commissioners are supporting an “ADA Plus” plan that would make several improvements to the current library to bring it up to ADA code — namely, that the library would get a new elevator, handicapped accessible bathrooms and several minor renovations within the structure — to bring it all up to ADA compliance.

This plan would cost about $1.8 million. In addition to this cost, Briant said the library representatives are currently looking at three proposed additions to the facility, which would increase the library’s overall square-footage.

Two proposed additions would be at the rear of the facility, Briant said, and the third would be in the rear and on the Tanner Street side of the building. All three would add offices and include the installation of an elevator. The largest addition, Briant said, would add about 3,000 square feet to the current 12,000 square foot facility.

There are no cost estimates for this yet, she said.

To help foot the near $2 million bill, commissioners recently applied for a CDBG grant for $16,600 for accessibility improvement to the library. There may also be more opportunities for grants moving forward, representatives reported.

Briant said the borough is currently in discussions with Archer and Griener, owners of the neighboring building to the current library, to possibly expand several feet on to its property to increase the size of the library.

“The mayor did indicate that they did have (had) some preliminary discussions for arrangement to make the size better. It would likely make for better parking accommodations,” she said.

Regardless of the plan to upgrade the current library, Briant says the current location is just too tight.

“You’ll gain some space inside when you renovate, but it’s not enough to capture everything that we had hoped for in the past building studies. It’s additional space though, and the handicap accessibility will be a big improvement,” she said. “The architect is working on the possible placement of the elevator and the best way to maximize the space of the facility.”

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