County Seat Newspaper
of Clare County

Much Anticipated Library Move Planned for Summer


The current Harrison District Library location was recently listed for sale with Harrison Realty. It’s one more step in the process of moving the library to the former Surrey House restaurant location on Beech Street.

The library has been in the Second and Main streets location since 1980. The building has been well maintained and has had several remodels in those 43 years. The largest change was in the early 1990s when a brick façade was added and the community room created which now serves as the children’s area.

“It’s a great building and it’s move-in ready,” said Nick Loomis, assistant library director and project manager for the Surrey House construction project. “It has over 5,000 square feet and many of the furnishings such as cabinetry will go along with the sale.”

Loomis has high hopes that a business will purchase the building and contribute to the growth of downtown.

“The downtown is so important to the community,” he said. “The library is happy to continue to be a part of that downtown on Second Street. Proceeds from the sale of building will go to future maintenance and operations of the Harrison District Library.”

Loomis does expect a closure of some kind during the move, but the logistics of moving 28,000 items to their proper places is still being mapped out by Loomis and library director Sheila Bissonnette.

“Everything is on pace for an opening for summer 2023,” Loomis said. “We are finishing up the restrooms and we are working with Hilts Plumbing, finishing some electrical with Heckman Electric and Pro-Tech Cabling for fiber.”

One of the last hurdles besides bathroom construction was the shelving. Some of the shelving will be reused and some was ordered recently after careful planning by Bissonnette.

“We have secured enough funding to be able to order a large quantity of new shelving,” Loomis said. “We will use some of the old shelving. That will make the move easier.”

The library has not incurred any debt and no money was borrowed for the project.

“Grants and community support have funded the project and donations continue to come in,”Loomis said. “There are still a few naming opportunities for larger donations.

 “Without Richard [Hilton] and Terry [Loafman], without this team, we couldn’t have done the project. They are library employees and our maintenance team. Richard is a licensed builder. The pace is a little bit slower but two guys along with local subcontractors have completed all of the work.”

When asked if Loomis was ready to have the project completed, he laughed a bit and admitted it had its stressful moments.

“I’ll be happy to see it done and be in the building operating for the community. We have saved one of the most historic buildings in the county, and we hope that it will be treasured by the local community for many years to come.”

In the coming weeks, public tours will be scheduled for a sneak peek.


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