The contractor awarded the bid to demolish a two-block section of South Main Street for a new library building has two months to raze seven downtown structures.

“When you see a fence go up, you know something is going to come down,” said Judy Burdine, director of the Pulaski County Public Library.

According to contract, Weddle Enterprises Inc. has a two-month time-table, from May 1 to the end of July, to complete the demolition project. The Somerset-based company submitted a low bid of $206,000 to raze several buildings, including the former First Christian Church sanctuary and an adjacent educational building, for a 50,000-square-foot library building.

Burdine said Weddle received the contract last week. “It will probably be a week or so until they get started,” she said.

Some of the original features of the church building will not be destroyed. The contractor has been directed to save the front two columns, ornamental urns on top of the structure and one of the stained glass windows.

Burdine said she has asked that one of the 10 stained glass windows be preserved. “It really doesn’t matter to me which one. Whichever one they can get out without breaking,” she said.

The new library complex will be located on a 3.5-acre tract of land in downtown Somerset, from Spring to Gilmore Street and South Main to Maple Street. Besides the church, other buildings scheduled to be razed include: the Silver Eagle building (formerly a skating rink), a vacant Gulf service station, former Pulaski Motor Building and some residential properties.

Officials selected this site because they wanted to keep the library in the heart of Pulaski County. A library has been located on North Main Street for approximately 40 years.

The new building will be designed for future expansion. The main floor will house the reading and reference area. The Kentucky room is dedicated to the memory of Don and Eva Mae Orwin. Many years ago, Don Orwin chaired a drive that made the library financially self-supporting by establishing a special library tax. An art gallery will be located off of the foyer. There also will be meeting rooms, a full-size kitchen and public restrooms. The remainder of the first floor will be utilized for staff and administrative offices.

A children’s area will occupy the second floor. The tree house in the existing children’s section will be moved to the new site.

Friends of the Library, Pulaski County Historical Society, a teen room and computer lab will be located in the basement.

One of the most welcomed additions will be a 100-space parking lot. Patrons have had to make due over the years with limited on- and off-site parking.

Patrons will have the added convenience of a drive-through window service for returning and picking up reserved books and items.

McClorey and Savage Architects, a firm from Cincinnati, Ohio, is designing the building. As soon as library officials get the blueprints, Burdine said they will begin advertising for construction bids.

Financing for the project was made possible from a successful petition effort to increase the library tax.

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