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County hosts open house for library renovation

The concept and design renderings for the Pleasant Hill Library renovation were revealed at an open house Feb. 22. About 50 people attended the open house inquiring about the project with some asking very good questions, according to Dakota County library director Margaret Stone.

The most common questions was: when will the library close and when will it open?

Stone said there are no official dates set just yet, but the library will close for construction sometime in fall 2018 with plans for it reopen in the spring 2019.

"There will be another location," Stone said, "Hastings is just too set off by itself and its too much of a drive to another Dakota County library location."

Staff are currently exploring different options for a temporary space to serve the community during the construction closure. Stone said suggestions are welcome, but they are looking for a space with around 3,000-4,000 square feet.

The library has not undergone renovations since it was constructed in 1994. Dakota County selected Kodet Architectural Group, of Minneapolis, as the designer for the renovation.

Project manager Joe Lexa said the project budget consists of $3,695,000 funded by Dakota County citizens through property taxes.

"The county understands what an asset and resource Pleasant Hill Library is to the Hastings area and is glad to fund such a worthwhile endeavor," he said.

The library will be expanded by about 1,500 square feet allowing for the creation of a new Makerspace and larger community meeting room. Other new features will include a family restroom, more efficient staff work space, a conference room, study rooms and a larger teen space.

The children's area of the library will also be a bit expanded. Stone said a need for a larger interactive space was determined. Parents and caregivers shared that they wanted a place to meet up with other parents and caregivers. The new area will have more room for those interactions to take place as well as activities for children including buttons to push and things to turn. The interactive space will help children increase motor skills and also teacher early literacy skills.

One feature intended to exemplify the uniqueness of Hastings will be found on the floor. Stone said there will be a path extending from the center of the library. There will be two paths; one going to the right and one to the left.

"We're going to highlight those somehow on the floor to resemble the river, the Mississippi and the Vermillion, so that the library will really give you this feeling for Hastings," Stone said.

Michelle Wirth

Michelle Wirth graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2013 with a degree in journalism and web design. She worked as a web content editor for a trade association before coming to the Hastings Star Gazette in 2016.

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