Bentleyville Public Library to embark on $3 million expansion project

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BENTLEYVILLE – Plans are under way to double the size of Bentleville Public Library at a cost of nearly $3 million.


The project also would expand the “dark and dismal” Bentworth Senior Citizens Center, which is housed in the basement of the former schoolhouse at Route 917 and Main Street, said Mary Thompson, library board president.


“We’re hoping everyone will realize how needed this is,” Thompson said.


The board is launching a capital campaign to raise the money for construction, which could begin in August, she said. It’s partnering with Djdc Architects in Wexford, which will provide free fundraising efforts for the project. The board has already secured a $400,000 state grant and $100,000 from the local share of the slots proceeds from The Meadows Racetrack & Casino in North Strabane Township for the project.


The borough conveyed the building last year to the library to allow it to use the asset as matching money to qualify for the grant, Mayor Tom Brown said.


Thompson said the building dating to the 1890s is badly in need of updating. The two-story, 3,600-sqaure-foot addition will be constructed first to ensure services inside the existing building are not interrupted.


When completed, the new building will have a place to display the local historical society’s collection, meeting rooms, a large children’s area and space to host parties and small wedding receptions.


“It’s not only about books,” Thompson said. “It can be as interactive as they want.”


The exterior of the building will be covered in a material that appears as if it’s old clapboard siding to make it look like a schoolhouse.


“It’s going to be green,” she said. “The lights won’t come on when the rooms are empty. It’s going to be so exciting.”


The library will host an open house to present the expansion plan to the public at 6:30 p.m. March 14.


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