Construction Work To Begin Today At Prendergast Library

Both preliminary construction work and the removal of artwork will start this week at the James Prendergast Library.

Tina Scott, James Prendergast Library director, said preliminary construction work will start today at the library. She said the library will remain open during the renovation project, which is scheduled to last about seven months.

“We will try to remain open as much as possible during the renovations, there might be a day or two, but we do not anticipate closing,” she said. “We just ask people to pardon our mess. The library will be much better when it is done.”

The first phase of a construction project will create Americans with Disabilities Act compliant restrooms for men and women on the first floor, turn second-floor storage space into a new community room and create a teen space above the front entrance. Without adding on, the project will add more than 1,800 square feet of public space to the library and make it more user-friendly at the same time.

Also on Tuesday, preservationists from the Intermuseum Conservation Association of Cleveland, Ohio, have been scheduled to start removing the late David L. Lawrence mural. Charlie Lawrence, David’s son, said $10,955.82 has been raised by community members, family members and from people all across the country. In April, a fund was set up through the library’s website to raise money to remove the mural. It was projected that $8,000 to $10,000 needed to be raised to remove the mural.

“It is pretty amazing given the short time we had the way the community, family members and friends got involved in it,” Lawrence said. “I have a house in Bemus Point and people were coming up to me and talking to me on the street about the murals. They are happy this is happening.”

Lawrence said it will take two to three days to remove the artwork from the library wall. Once the mural is removed, preservationists will put a new backing on the artwork so it can easily be removed if it needs to again in the future.

“It won’t require experts on scaffolding and a couple days time to remove next time,” Lawrence said.

In the summer of 2012, Prendergast Library officials prepared a successful application through the Public Library Construction Grant program of the New York State Library for funding to install handicapped accessible/family restrooms and renovate upstairs storage space for future programming. One wall mural is adhered to the wall of a storage areas that will be converted into public space during Phase 1.

Even though there are two Lawrence murals at the library, only one is in a section that will be renovated this year. The mural is located at the front of the library, along a sidewall to the right of the entrance area if you are walking into the library. The other mural is located to the left in the children’s room. The children’s room mural also needs to be removed, but construction will not be done to that section of the library this year.