MAHONING COUNTY Library branch construction on schedule

The board raised rental rates for library meeting rooms.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Construction of the new Austintown branch library is on schedule, and the building will open this fall, said Dr. David Ritchie, trustee of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County.
Ritchie, chairman of the Austintown library committee, said the contractor's deadline to finish construction is July 29, after which cabinet work must be completed and furnishings and equipment installed.
The earliest the building could open would likely be in late September, he said. Workers are now completing the roof and installing windows.
The new $3.4 million building at 600 S. Raccoon Road will have almost 20,000 square feet of library space, making it three times the size of the Mahoning Avenue library it will replace.
Transferring materials: The Mahoning Avenue building likely will close two or three weeks before the new building opens to allow books and other library materials to be moved from there to the new location, said Janet S. Loew, library communications and public relations director.
The new building is being constructed with $3 million from taxes and supplemented by $400,000 from a private fund-raising campaign. Donors will have the opportunity to sponsor things such as rooms, study alcoves, benches, chairs and planters for varying gift amounts.
Rental fees: At its Thursday meeting, the board also adopted new policies and raised fees for the use of its meeting rooms at various branches.
The new policy sets a $20 Mahoning County resident minimum for a three-hour rental by a nonprofit group, with a $30 minimum for nonresidents. The new policy also allows rentals of Boardman and Poland branch meeting rooms for private social events and nonpublic business events, with fees starting at $100 for three hours.
All users will begin paying a $100 security deposit, refundable if the room is left in satisfactory condition after the event.
All-day rentals previously were $10 with no security deposit required and were limited to nonprofit organizations.
The board approved revised 2001 appropriations of $19.1 million and adopted $14.6 million in 2002 appropriations -- the decline due to one-time expenditures last year for construction of the Poland and Austintown libraries.
The board also authorized construction to proceed on a book and gift shop at the Poland branch. Friends of the Libraries volunteers will staff the shop, and sale proceeds will go to the library system.

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