Renovations are under way at the Commerce Township Community Library, but Library Director Connie Jo Ozinga expects disruptions to library patrons will be kept at a minimum.
“They should not see much sign of construction until the bitter end, when we begin cutting through the walls,” she said.
The library is currently housed in the old El Dorado Golf Course clubhouse and banquet facility off Martin Parkway near Pontiac Trail. The building consists of 20,000 square feet, but only 12,000 are currently in use.
That is all changing as the building is undergoing an internal rehabilitation to expand the library’s interior and better utilize the additional 8,000 square feet in the building.
“When we moved into the building, we converted the front 12,000 square feet, which consisted of the old banquet halls, into the library,” Ozinga said. “(In) the back 8,000 (square feet) — which was the pro shop and the bar — we did nothing to it except remove the bar tap. Now, we’ve just done demolition on the entire back. Just by taking out the two locker rooms, it gave us a huge amount of floor space.”
The majority of the new floor space will be used for teen services, according to Ozinga.
“All the existing teen shelves and computers will be moved back there,” she said. “We are adding some additional seating, including some restaurant-style booths. We currently have this tiny little corner for teens, so we’re expanding the area.”
Another major improvement will be the construction of a community meeting room that will be able to accommodate 100 people and will have tables and chairs for 60 people.
“To begin with, it will be a library programs space, but we plan to develop a policy so the room can be used for different uses, such as the Walled Lake Schools’ Coffee with the Superintendent event we just hosted,” Ozinga said.
Other plans for the additional space include an accessible information technology training area for staff and the public, additional office space, two unisex restrooms, and a new group study room, among other improvements.
The internal renovation costs, including furniture and painting, is expected to remain below $300,000 and will be funded by the library’s improvement revolving fund, a fund set up for improvements to the library.
“We’re excited about (this renovation),” Ozinga said. “When we opened six years ago, we were hoping it would happen much sooner, and now it is.”