LIBRARY TURNS PAGE ON NEW DIGS

MICHELE MORGAN BOLTON Staff writer
Section: CAPITAL REGION,  Page: F3

Date: Wednesday, June 28, 2000

Pat Nonamaker has spent the better part of the past decade building an expertise in the planning and funding skills necessary to construct a new library. Tuesday, as ground was officially broken for the 22,000-square-foot facility that will sit on 10 acres at the corner of Luther and Michael roads, the high-spirited director of the East Greenbush Community Library said, after what she's already been through, what follows should be a snap.


``I keep saying the rest will be easy and the architect and construction managers just give me their knowing looks,'' Nonamaker said jokingly. ``But I think the major hurdles are over and now it will be fun.''


About 50 friends, well-wishers and local and county politicians gathered for the morning ceremony to officially launch the $3.3 million building project that will more than triple the size of the current facility in East Greenbush Town Hall.


The new library building will contain double the 40,000 current available items and will allow for expanded services, collections, seating, accessibility and improved parking.


An additional $1 million will pay for a road, fees and interior furnishings.


Taxpayers in the average household will pay $1.24 per year once the new library opens in March.


Among its highlights will be a drive-through book drop and pickup area -- which is unique to the area -- as well as both children's and story hour rooms, a teen area, three meeting rooms, a literacy center and a computer lab with at least eight work stations.


The lobby will be designed to accommodate display space for local artists and collectors and the flexible floor plan will facilitate future expansion.


The new East Greenbush Community Library site is part of a larger 39-acre parcel purchased from the Michel family, which farmed the land for three generations before selling it in 1998.


The Capital District YMCA will also build a 55,000-square-foot fitness center next spring. The third parcel at the site, currently co-owned by the library and the YMCA, is likely to be sold soon to a senior citizen housing agency.


Serious negotiations are under way, Nonamaker said: ``We hope to have something for the board to look at, at our July meeting.''


All in all, things are looking good for the popular library and the scores of residents who have supported it as it's grown, she said.


``We've had a very positive reaction from everybody,'' Nonamaker said. ``It's truly a community library. It was kind of prophetic that that (word) is in it's name.''