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Works begins on the city's 'grand hall'

The new entrance to the library is through Rabalder. FOTO: Illustration: Interior architect Tone Nærø

Works begins on the city's 'grand hall'

Works begins on the city's 'grand hall'

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The first floor of Næringsbygget is now cleared of furniture and other fittings. Workers from Sandmo & Svenkerud, Assemblin and other subcontractors are removing the ceiling panels, electrical wiring and insulation.

"We will demolish until mid-November before we begin to build up the new," said Rune Ryen, construction manager for Sandmo & Svenkerud,

The total cost of the rebuilding is 6.5 million kroner. In addition, there will be costs related to renovating the interior.

Research trip

Victoria Windstad, the city government's manager of the project, said people will get an entirely new library experience when the reconstruction is finished.

"It will be opened up to Rabalder where the entrance will be," she said. "A tiled entrance hall with the shoe area and newspaper section will be the first thing you come to. Then the library will contain departments for all age groups."

Windstad and city property manager Mette Ostby recently took a research trip to Oslo, where they sought inspiration from several newly renovated libraries.

"We were at Bekkestua, at Lørenskog and Furuset where they have modern libraries," Windstad said. "The furniture and decorations were some of the things we looked at."

More open

Many of the walls of the former administrative offices of Longyearbyen's municipal government will now be demolished, resulting in a large open area in the building. At the same time there will be a new library area of more than 500 square meters, which is about twice as large as the current library on the second floor of Lompensenteret.

Windstad said the library will become an information center that includes the city's information office. How that will be set up has not yet been determined

"There shall be, in any case, a newspaper department, a book department and a polar department," she said. "I think the library has about 17,000 books to fit here."

Also planned for the premises is a "play ball," inspired by the spheres at the Svalbard Satellite Station.

In addition, the intent is for the bureaucracy to be "mope open."

"That means that the opening hours will be much longer than today," Wingstad said. "Although the library is not staffed after 4 p.m., you can use your library card to get in and take the brochures further into the evenings."

'A fine winter'
The construction manager said he sees no great challenges tearing down the old and building what will become Longyearbyen's new grand hall.

"So far, it looks like a very straightforward job where we get to be indoors all winter," Ryan said.

He has a deadline of April 1 of next year to finish the construction work. Then it will take some time for the city government and library to move in the new premises.

"We anticipate that it will be open sometime in May next year," Windstad said.

Library:How will the new library look like. Illustration: Interior architect Tone Nærø

Large room: The new entrance to the library is through Rabalder.

Illustration: Interior architect Tone Nærø

Reconstruction: Rune Ryen, construction manager at Sandmo & Svenkerud, and Victoria Windstad, manager of the project for the city,visit the construction area.

Photo: Christopher Engås

Se bildet større

How will the new library look like. FOTO: Illustration: Interior architect Tone Nærø

Se bildet større

Rune Ryen, construction manager at Sandmo & Svenkerud, and Victoria Windstad, manager of the project for the city,visit the construction area. FOTO: Christopher Engås

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