BERLIN – Library representatives shared plans for the new Berlin branch, a state-of-the-art 11,000 square foot building to be located on Harrison Avenue, with town officials this week.
Ron Cascio, a Worcester County Library board member as well as a Berlin Planning Commission member, presented plans for the new library before the commission this week. The two-story brick building will be located next to the Waystead Inn on Harrison Avenue.
Cascio says the new facility will provide the same services the existing Berlin library offers but with significantly more space. The layout of the ground floor is even similar to what patrons experience now, with a children’s area to the left of the entrance and the bulk of the library’s books to the right.
“It’s like the existing library in the way it’s set up but it’s bigger,” he said.
The second floor of the library, which can be accessed via an interior stairway or by an exterior stairway, will provide space for a teen section and a history section. It will also house a large community room. That space, which will hold 80-100 people, will be available for the community to use free of charge.
“Often there will be functions in this room after hours,” Cascio said. “We were careful to set it up so we could access the multipurpose room and totally close up the library.”
The new library will be brick, like many of the buildings in Berlin, and will be situated in the front-right corner of the six-acre site so that it will be visible from nearby Main Street. Sixty parking spaces will sit to the left of the building. Cascio says the library has no plans to use the rear portion of the large site at this time.
The new building will feature a rear porch, to provide the library with additional programming space, and will have a roof that will be able to accommodate solar panels. Cascio says that while the library board wants solar panels on the building, they still have to find funding for them.
While the library will have a fairly large parking lot, Cascio says it will include planting islands. The design also strives to minimize the project’s impact on the homes along Brittany Lane.
“We’ve been real careful to lower the impact on the neighborhood,” he said.
Library officials hope to have construction documents completed this year so that they can break ground on the new building in the spring of 2017.