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Pleasant Hill Library renovation is right on schedule

Pleasant Hill Library is undergoing a renovation that is set to end in July. David Clarey / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 8
The expanded community meeting space. David Clarey / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 8
Margaret Stone, director of Dakota County's library system, and Julia Carlis, the Pleasant Hill Library manager, pose for a photo in the mid-construction library. David Clarey / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 8
A set of construction documents. David Clarey / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 8
The new kids area features "tree-like" wall designs. David Clarey / RiverTown Multimedia5 / 8
A heap of construction materials. David Clarey / RiverTown Multimedia6 / 8
A new outdoor patio will be built as part of the renovation. David Clarey / RiverTown Multimedia7 / 8
The rotunda space and the rest of the building will receive new windows. David Clarey / RiverTown Multimedia8 / 8

Aside from a small snafu involving light switch placement, renovations at Pleasant Hill Library are moving along smoothly and are in the final stages.

The $3.6 million renovation includes adding in a new technology room, a 1,500-square-foot expansion that includes expanded meeting space and other improvements. The construction started last October and is set to complete in early-to-mid July.

"The expanded meeting room will be a big wow," said Margaret Stone, director of Dakota County's libraries. "There aren't a lot of large places for people to meet in Hastings ... this will be fabulous."

The expanded community room will be able to hold more than 100 people and is free to use, she said. Other improvements are focused on improving the children's section and helping the library better fit a broad set of uses, Stone said.

For instance, the library renovation includes adding a fireplace to give it a home-like feel in one room and add an "iLab" space — which has high-end technology like a 3D printer for public use.

The library was built in 1994 and had never been renovated before now, said Joe Lexa, a senior project manager with the county. The renovations have stayed on track throughout the roughly 10-month long expected construction timeline — despite a viciously cold winter and late batch of heavy snow, he said.

"We are in the final 20 percent of the work to be completed," Lexa said.

The renovation also included a relocated entryway, a more efficient material collection space and, a portion of the floor will feature a design of the region's topography.

The redesigned material collections area used to be split into two different spots, but now some of it will be automated and the materials will be easier to organize, said Julia Carlis, the library's branch manager.

Stone said that most people in the community have been excited, but are starting to wonder when the new space will open. At the temporary location question it's the most common question she is asked.

"People are getting excited, but they're starting to wonder when it's going to come," Stone said laughing. "We need a couple more months here."