Slow Progress in Library Plans

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Suffield’s Permanent Building Commission has a lot on its plate these days: The ongoing problem of how to complete the Kent Memorial Library renovation and accessibility project is a continuing vexation; in the Bridge Street School Community Center project, progress beyond the conceptual design stage has been slowed as plans for removing hazardous material are being reconsidered; and in the Town Hall renovation and expansion project, the initial conceptual plan is already obsolete. The Commission has met three times in August and twice in September, and the goal for the library operation to reoccupy its former quarters seems to slip further away each month.

At the library, a test program to discover the source of the building’s PCB air contamination still awaits balancing the new HVAC system airflows. Air ducts have now been cleared of some debris, and methods of redirecting the airflow among the various ventilation registers have been discussed repeatedly. In recent meetings the idea of asking the State to relax its airflow balance requirements has gained strength.

In the meantime, as reported in the September issue of the Observer, it has become necessary for the library operation to move again, this time to the Senior Center, allowing most of the remaining Town Hall departments to occupy the space on Ffyler Place. Library Director Jackie Hemond, who learned of the move after it was announced in the August 17 selectmen’s meeting, visited the Senior Center on the 19th and learned that in addition to the current game room, the library’s dedicated space would include the old Calvary Church chapel. That space is now used for the Senior Center’s own library, the Polish Heritage Society’s computer system, and meetings using the old pews. The library will be able to use other Senior Center rooms for special events, when the rooms are available. Library personnel are working on detailed plans for how best to use their new quarters. First Selectman Melissa Mack stated that the move will take place early next year.

At the Senior Center, the Polish Heritage Society’s computer system will be shifted to the computer room, and some game room operations will move to the previous art studio, where art teacher Lynda Montefusco has been holding her A Touch of Color classes since the Center opened. Her surprise eviction notice was a shock, but teacher Montefusco was happy to learn that the Suffield Masonic Lodge across Bridge Street would welcome her classes back to their pre-Senior Center location there. She expects to re-open on October 3 with all of her current students.

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