Hartford library to build anew

The former Red Arrow Elementary School in Hartford is pictured in 2014. The Hartford Public Library is planning to demolish the building and build a combined library and community center. 

HARTFORD — The Hartford Public Library will have a new home by this time next year if all goes according to plan.

Library Director Stephanie Daniels said Tuesday the library has taken over the Art & Bonna VanDerlyn Community Center project and will create a community center/library at the old Red Arrow Elementary School.

Bonna VanDerlyn, who has supported a variety of community efforts, pledged $1 million early last year to buy and improve the school to turn it into something for the community.

The 1960-vintage school became surplus property when the expanded Woodside Elementary School, now known as Redwood Elementary, opened. The 60,000-square-foot building was in need of a new roof and major heating and air conditioning work.

Daniels said the library has been outgrowing its space for a few years, and when this opportunity came it just made sense to get involved.

The Library Board decided demolishing the school and building a brand new building was the most cost-effective option. This month, Hartford Public Schools and the Library Board agreed on the sale of the building to the library.

“We’re hoping to get the building down by end of the year and break ground in the spring,” Daniels said. “We should have a prototype of the new building in the next few weeks.”

The Art & Bonna VanDerlyn Community Center/Hartford Public Library will be 8,000 square feet.

“There will be room for expansion. This is what we can afford right now,” Daniels said. 

It will have a 1,200-square-foot meeting room, a computer lab, a bigger children’s and teen area, a room for genealogy and local history, and a Makers Space lab. 

“It will be a great addition to the community,” she said.

Daniels said this whole project is possible thanks to the VanDerlyn Trust agreeing to donate an extra $300,000. 

“We’re also going to have a capital campaign to raise another $500,000. We’re not asking people for a millage,” she said. “We’ll accept any donation of any size.”

She said the library has also applied for a grant to help.

For information on how to donate, call 621-3408 or email hartfordlib@yahoo.com.

Contact: anewman@TheHP.com, 932-0357, Twitter: @HPANewman