Crowds of people poured in Saturday morning to the newly renovated Tower Road Library, greeted by large windows that welcomed in natural reading light and the smell of fresh paint.
The Tower Road branch of the Alachua County Library district reopened after nearly a year of renovations. About 200 people came to the ribbon-cutting grand opening at the facility located on Southwest 75th Street.
The renovation had a budget of $2.68 million, which the county allocated over many years, but $87,000 wasn’t used, said Shaney Livingston, the Alachua County library director. The Florida Department of State’s division of library services had granted $500,000.
The Friends of the Library donated $32,000 for the creation of the Quiet Reading room and a small bronze statue, Livingston said. The Alachua County Library District Foundation funded the Teen Spaces and Snuggle Up rooms by donating $60,000.
About 8,500 square feet was added to the library for a total of 23,500 square feet, said the Alachua County Library District spokesperson Nickie Kortus. Other renovations include three study rooms and a new space for kitchen demonstrations.
The library opened in 1992, and this renovation served to better fit the changing needs of the diverse surrounding community, she said.
“Tower Road serves a very diverse population both in economic and educational backgrounds,” she said. “It’s really important for the library to figure out those needs.”
Mary Searle, 71, of Gainesville, said she was so excited for the reopening that she couldn’t sleep.
“I’ve been keeping tabs on the construction for awhile now, but I’m just thrilled to see it,” she said.