South Portland library branch to reopen Sunday

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SOUTH PORTLAND — After about six weeks of work inside and out, the South Portland Public Library Memorial Branch at 155 Wescott Road is set to reopen at noon on Sunday, Dec. 2.

Library Director Kevin Davis said replacement of two pedestrian bridges leading to the library entrance is done, and a new heating, air conditioning and ventilation system has been installed.

The branch was closed Oct. 15 after city councilors approved funding for the work. Bridge replacement, by Portland-based Wright-Ryan Construction, cost $80,200, funded with a $60,200 allocation from the city undesignated fund balance and $20,000 from a library maintenance fund.

One bridge, providing access to the 24-hour book drop box, had been closed because of safety concerns before the Oct. 1 council votes approving the funding for work.

The bridges, estimated to be at least 35 years old, were rusting; eight bids, ranging from $80,200 to more than $200,000, were received for the replacement job.

One bridge also leads to the shared space used by the library and the pro shop for the South Portland Municipal Golf Course. In his memo to councilors detailing the scope of the work, Davis noted the library branch represents 17 percent of the total patronage and the bridges provide the only library access during the winter.

Davis said the new HVAC system, installed at a cost of almost $18,000 by Auburn-based Damon Mechanical Services, is more efficient and less visually obtrusive. It replaces a system installed in 1991.

Funding for the heating and ventilation system came from $10,000 allocated in the 2011 Capital Improvements Budget, with the remainder from the current CIP budget. The bid by Damon Mechanical Services was more than $13,000 less than a competing bid by Scarborough-based AAA Energy Services.

Davis said the branch library, across Wescott Road from Memorial Middle School, will return to the hours of operation in place before the October closure. The branch will be open noon-5 p.m. on Sundays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Mondays, and 2-6 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays.

With the reopening, the main library at 482 Broadway will resume regular hours and will not be open Sundays and Mondays.

The reopening of the branch library allows patrons two locations to contribute to the annual Food for Fines drive through Dec. 15. Anyone with fines for late materials can have the fees waived by bringing in nonperishable food or personal care items to be donated to the South Portland Food Cupboard.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

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With two new pedestrian bridges completed and a new heating and ventilation system installed, the Memorial Branch of the South Portland Public Library will reopen Sunday, Dec. 2, at noon. The branch has been closed since Oct. 15.

Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.