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Eagle Point library sticks to schedule

New library, three times the size of the city's present one, is set to open on time and under budget

EAGLE POINT ' Nearly three decades since dedicating a small city library branch on Main Street, local library patrons are getting some modern, spacious digs.

The final move into the new city library is expected to take place by Oct. 19.

Patrons will see a four-week closure, followed by a grand reopening in a new facility nearly three times as big and, officials brag, 10 times as cozy.

Ted Stark, the library system's Upper Rogue regional manager, said the &

36;1.6 million project is expected to finish under budget and on schedule.

This is the first one that's been on schedule ' maybe, Stark said with a laugh.

— It's actually a little bit ahead. Acme West (the contractor) has been doing a really good job. We're close to being done and it already feels like a library inside.

Currently at 158 W. Main St., the existing 3,000-square-foot facility has long been outgrown.

Branch manager Jeanette Blankenship said the new 8,794-foot city library branch will better suit the area.

We've been too small for too many years, she admitted. Eagle Point is the fastest growing community in Oregon. ... Show up after school in this library and you won't be able to find a place to sit down or a computer to use.

I won't say it's the only game in town, but it's something for kids to do after school.

Funded by a countywide &

36;39 million library bond passed by voters in 2000 to replace or refurbish 14 county libraries, the project broke ground last fall.

The new library is next to City Hall and in the same area as the community center and post office. It features Craftsman architecture, lots of wood trim and gables.

Inside, patrons are in for a big change from the 1977 wood-frame structure currently in use.

The new library boasts three study rooms, a stone fireplace, soft, over-stuffed chairs and an atrium-style secret garden for children.

We're excited about the move, Blankenship said. It's going to be a lot more comfortable, not as crowded. There'll be more seating for people to sit and read books and newspapers and magazines. We'd like to encourage more of that leisure reading.

When the new home is ready for books, the old library will close for several days to allow library materials to be moved and reshelved. During closure, patrons can return books to either the library drop-box at the old library site, use drop boxes in Medford, or hold on to them. Return dates will be extended during the closure to allow books to be returned following opening day in the new library.

A grand opening celebration is scheduled from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 17.

Mark Haefling, left, and Jay Johnson of Acme West Construction do some interior finish work at the new Eagle Point Library, which is scheduled to open Oct. 19. Mail Tribune / Roy Musitelli - Mail Tribune Roy Musitelli