Village of Elk Rapids council approves 6,300-square-foot library expansion

During a meeting on Monday, the Elk Rapids Village Council approved a 6,300-square-foot expansion to The Island House.

ANTRIM COUNTY, Mich., (WBPN/WGTU) -- The fate of a controversial library expansion in an Antrim County community has been decided.

During a meeting of the Elk Rapids Village Council Monday, members voted to pass the proposal for a 6,300-square-foot expansion to The Island House.

According to a letter posted on the library's website, the site is listed in the Michigan Historic Registry.

In that letter, State Historic Preservation Officer Brian Conway is quoted saying:

"After careful review of these documents and extensive conversations with the Hopkins Burns representatives, we have concluded that the proposed addition design represented therein appears to be consistent with the historic character, design and setting of the property and conforms to the guidance contained in the Secretary of the Interiors Standards for Rehabilitation.”

In a special meeting in October, residents were able to voice their opinions on the possible expansion.

The Village Council voted down the proposal in November 2017.

During that meeting, the council asked the library to consider a 4,000-square-foot expansion instead of the proposed 6,300-square-foot.

People for the expansion said it would bring the library into the 21st Century and offer more needed space, while people against the expansion said it would potentially destroy the character of the town.

The expansion was passed on the condition that no village funds would be used for the project and it must be paid for through donations and fundraising efforts.

The expansion will nearly double the size of the existing building and cost around $3.2 million to complete.

An addition of two levels aligning with the current building, including a main floor and a lower walkout level, are included in the expansion.

In the above plans, you can see an addition extending from the southwest corner of the library and connecting to the existing west wing of the building.

The main floor will feature a program room, adult reading area and restrooms.

On the lower level, there will be the children and teen areas, casual seating and vending area, restrooms and tutoring rooms.

Library officials said The Book Cellar will remain in the lower level and the main entrance will stay in its current location as well.

According to the library's website, the plan also called for the restoration of several historical elements of The Island House including the parlor, the fireplace located near the front desk and a conservatory located to the west of the porch along the face of the building.

The additional space allows for reconfiguration and modest expansion of the adult collections and the addition of comfortable seating, work stations and quiet reading areas. The children and teen areas will have similar amenities and capacity for larger collections as well.

Separate computer stations are planned for the adult, children and teen areas as well.

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