REED CITY — Fresh life will be breathed into the former St. Philip Neri School site as construction for the new Reed City Area District Library site is expected to begin this month.

A groundbreaking ceremony took place on Sept. 30 at the site on Chestnut Street, where representatives from Reed City, Lincoln Township and Richmond Township came together to mark the beginning of an exciting period. Many took turns smashing holes into a wall with a sledge hammer, smiling as each hit made way for progress.

"We are extremely excited about this project," said RCADL Director Heather Symon Basset. "We're ready to go. This means a long-term library in the Reed City area. The library makes a difference in the community and it's a vital service."

Christine Cox, library board president, was cheerful during the ceremony, looking forward to what lay ahead.

"It's an opportunity to remind the community we still have a library to renovate," Cox said of the event. "It gives them the chance to donate money, help us with this project and be physically a part of it."

The library's lease on its current space in The Annex building expires in June of next year, so the library board had to act quickly to secure loan funding needed for the renovation, approve floor plans and hire a contractor.

"It's been very stressful, so this was our therapeutic way to work that off," Cox said. "But we also raised another $12,500 in pledges night of the ceremony, which will come over a five-year period, so we're excited. The more we earn up front, the less we have to borrow. That's a good thing."

The board saved additional funds by salvaging metal for scrap money, re-using undamaged ceiling tiles and only knocking down necessary walls. The entire project will cost about $480,000 including contingencies, though gives the library much needed additional space for staff offices, a community room, children's area, teen area and computer room.

"I think it'll be very exciting when everybody sees the library done," Cox said. "It gives us an extra 2,000 square feet for stacks, community room space and a lot of good things that will happen at the library."

Construction by Wakefield Construction is expected to begin this month and must be complete by May 1. Moving will take about a week and a ribbon cutting will follow, welcoming the community to view the finished project, she added.

The library continues to actively raise money and seek donations in support of the renovation project. Donation and project information can be found at reedcitylibrary.org.