Parkland Press

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Parkland Library plans porch enclosure to add more space

Wednesday, March 7, 2018 by SUSAN RUMBLE Special to The Press in Local News

When two attempts to gain approval for construction of a new building were turned down by voters, Parkland Community Library staff and board members looked for ways to increase space in the existing location.

Director Debbie Jack commented on the matter to The Press.

“Where we are now is where we are staying,” Jack said. “At this point, we’re stuck here.”

After meeting with South Whitehall officials to look at options for constructing a 4,000- to 5,000-square-foot addition on the premises, library representatives learned problems with utilities and infrastructure rule out that plan, Jack said.

With 12 staff working in a crowded 750-square-foot section, which includes their lunch room, Jack looked for some way to provide additional office space for employees.

At the Feb. 21 South Whitehall commissioners’ meeting, Jack presented a proposal to enclose the covered porch in front of the building to gain 350 square feet of work space.

She said three employees would be able to move to the new area.

“It will be a real room with a door connecting to the existing office, not merely a sort of patio enclosure,” Jack explained.

“This little 350 square feet will make a difference. We’re trying to give staff a safe working environment. The public doesn’t realize what goes on behind the scenes,” noted the director.

The project involves moving the sidewalk and the handicapped accessibility ramp. The book drop would be relocated to the front of the building and would resemble a mailbox as a free-standing item.

On the left front of the building, a 250-square-foot roof is proposed to provide shade for the large window which draws in a great deal of heat and light during the summer.

Township Manager Renee Bickel reported the porch enclosure concept sounds “doable.”

Township engineer Ralph Russek said the proposal would have minimal impact to the South Whitehall Township municipal campus.

The board voiced approval of the plan and advised Jack to meet with the township team to move forward.

Jack was asked about the influx of new residents from large housing developments.

“We will serve them,” Jack said. “We’ll do the best we can in the space we have.”

She said library representatives will work with architect Karen Ramsey to start the process of the porch project.

“We’ll keep the public abreast of things to come,” Jack said.