BETHEL, Pa. (WHTM) — A local public library in Berks County will soon break ground on an expansion and renovation project.

According to the Bethel-Tulpehocken Public Library (BTPL), the expansion project has been in the works since 2017, when they first completed alternate designs for the renovation and expansion. Then in 2018, they needed to cancel the project to due its higher-than-anticipated cost.

In 2020, the library unveiled a new design for the project, which was appraised at $500,000 less than the previous one.

Though planning for this expansion only started in 2017, a renovation of BTPL has been desired for more than a decade, according to BTPL director Elizabeth Kreider. One big perk of the project is that now, staff and others will no longer need to walk through bathrooms to get to the kid’s area.

According to the president of Steckbeck Engineering & Surveying Inc. Jeffrey E. Steckbeck, the newly designed project plan will consist of a 7,680 square-foot library with multiple new features, such as:

  • New program room
  • Expanded library space
  • ‘Teen nook’
  • Seating areas
  • Adult computer stations
  • Children’s literacy stations
  • New front addition and more!

The general contractor for the approximately $1.7 million project is Arthur Funk & Sons Construction Services, and Steckbeck Engineering and Surveying Inc. is the “Clerk-of-the-works” and the construction manager for the Township.

It should be noted that Arthur Funk & Sons did work on the BTPL back in 1980 when the library moved to its now current location.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the project will be held on Thursday, March 23, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. at BTPL, which is located at 8601 Lancaster Avenue.

BTPL anticipates the completion of the project in January 2024.

According to BTPL, they have been serving their local community for over 40 years, and currently serve about 25,000 visitors every year.