Harrison Library Renovation Effort Needs Last-Minute Bolster

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A rendering of the design for the new community room.
A rendering of the design for the new community room. Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Harrison Library Foundation
The community room now.
The community room now. Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Harrison Library Foundation
See 14 Harrison Library users and supporters talk about why the Library is critical to our community, why it is in need of immediate improvement, and what the Harrison Public Library Foundation intends to do about it. Please visit www.HPLF.org to lea Photo Credit: tacoash
A rendering of the design for the Harrison Library's new facade.
A rendering of the design for the Harrison Library's new facade. Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Harrison Library Foundation
The Harrison Library's current entrance.
The Harrison Library's current entrance. Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Harrison Library Foundation
A rendering of the design for the new children's room.
A rendering of the design for the new children's room. Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Harrison Library Foundation
The Harrison Library's children's room now.
The Harrison Library's children's room now. Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Harrison Library Foundation
The new computer lab will have a classroom for classes and meetings, such as ESL, computer skills, and employment seminars.
The new computer lab will have a classroom for classes and meetings, such as ESL, computer skills, and employment seminars. Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Harrison Library Foundation
The building has outdated, residential-grade electrical systems and one-third the number of computers that is appropriate for a town of our size, according to the foundation's Library consultants.
The building has outdated, residential-grade electrical systems and one-third the number of computers that is appropriate for a town of our size, according to the foundation's Library consultants. Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Harrison Library Foundation
The new adult area will have large, front-facing windows and will not be within earshot of the children's room.
The new adult area will have large, front-facing windows and will not be within earshot of the children's room. Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Harrison Library Foundation
The adult area now has inadequate lighting in many portions of the building and there is also not enough comfortable seating.
The adult area now has inadequate lighting in many portions of the building and there is also not enough comfortable seating. Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Harrison Library Foundation
What is now storage space will be turned into a 1,400-square-foot Teen Center, modeled on the YouMedia Network.
What is now storage space will be turned into a 1,400-square-foot Teen Center, modeled on the YouMedia Network. Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Harrison Library Foundation
The unappealing Teen Central is comprised of a desk and bookshelf along the wall, which the foundation attributes its young adult programs drawing 26 percent of the state average in 2010.
The unappealing Teen Central is comprised of a desk and bookshelf along the wall, which the foundation attributes its young adult programs drawing 26 percent of the state average in 2010. Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Harrison Library Foundation

HARRISON, N.Y. – The long-awaited renovation of the Harrison Public Library is slated to begin in early fall 2014, but the fundraising effort is still short of the $4 million goal.

With an architect and designs in place, the Harrison Library Foundation is making modifications to fit the project to its budget. As it makes those final decisions, it sits $900,000 short of its fundraising goal. If it doesn’t hit it, a few things will need to be cut.

Among them would be the improvements to the community room, which include lighting, television studio equipment, a small stage and surround-sound speaker system to host musical performances, lectures, art exhibits and film screenings.

Ross Halperin, executive director of the Harrison Library Foundation, said the room’s outdated technology and unappealing setting limit the types of events it can host there. He said some events generate a profit for the library.

“In the current budget we’re not going to be able to put any money in to that, which is a shame,” he told Daily Voice. “It’s going to be there, but it’s not going to be modern. We’re going to have a library that’s out of 2015 and this one room that’s out of 1970.”

Halperin said they would also have to cut back on the quality of the fixtures, furniture and other infrastructure improvements.

The library board of trustees first identified the need to renovate eight years ago, and Halperin said it has been a start-and-stop process. The current fundraising effort began in 2008 and he said they are on the 5-yard line and hope to punch it in soon.

When construction begins, it remains unclear if the library will remain open or temporarily relocate. 

Like the community room, much of the library is outdated, including the exterior. There will be additional windows and a glass entryway to allow more light into the building. Similarly, large windows will be found in the adult area, which will go from 90 to 175 seats.

The plan also increases the number of computers from 12 to 41 and adds a classroom for meetings and seminars, and three more rooms for private meetings and tutoring. There are currently none.

The children’s area will be doubled in size to 3,200 square feet and soundproofed. This will allow librarians to introduce more programming, according to the foundation.

To contribute to the renovation, visit the foundation website. Naming opportunities are available. 

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