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Book it: Contractor secured for Scranton library renovation

Times-Tribune - 6/10/2024

A Colorado firm with a local office in Moscow will renovate the Nancy Kay Holmes Branch Library in Scranton and make the Green Ridge landmark more accessible to patrons with disabilities.

Lackawanna County commissioners awarded last week a nearly $550,000 contract for the renovation to KR Construction Group Inc., the lowest and most responsible bidder. The total cost of the project, including engineering and related elements, is $667,400, but it does not rely on county funds.

The renovation will create a disabled-accessible entrance on the south side of the building with a ramp leading to an accessible parking space on Wyoming Avenue. It also includes other accessibility upgrades to the library's interior, the addition of a new public restroom, front-step repairs, a floor plan rearrangement and the replacement of windows and lighting to improve energy efficiency.

"What this project does is make our branch in Green Ridge, the Nancy Kay Holmes Branch built in 1891, compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act," Scranton Public Library CEO/Director Scott Thomas told commissioners. "So we're going to install a ramp and a new entrance, and a new restroom and general upgrades inside."

Half of the total project cost is covered by a state Department of Education grant, Thomas said. The Scranton Public Library raised the $333,700 in matching funds.

The Nancy Kay Holmes Branch Library originally began as the Green Ridge Library, predating the Albright Memorial Library that opened in 1893 on Vine Street at North Washington Avenue.

The Green Ridge Library Association obtained a charter in 1889 to construct a library on land donated by George Sanderson. After two years of fundraising, the building was constructed in a Prairie School style of architecture.

Originally subscription-based, it became a free public library in 1894. Twenty years later, in 1914, the city accepted the building and grounds and the library reopened as the Green Ridge Branch Library of the Scranton Public Library system.

It was renamed in 2010 for the late Nancy Kay Holmes, who passed away the year prior. A former Scranton city councilwoman and a co-founder of the Green Ridge Neighborhood Association, Holmes was also a health and physical education teacher and avid reader.

Officials expect the renovation to begin in July with completion targeted for mid-November, Thomas said.

Jim Lockwood, staff writer, contributed to this report.

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