April 16, 1987, Frances S. Prigmore executed a trust agreement devising a charitable trust to be divided between several charities including Lee County, Florida, for the exclusive benefit of the Lakes Regional Library. Regrettably, Mrs. Prigmore passed on August 9, 2016. After her passing, the Trustee distributed the trust pursuant to its provisions, and thus, the Lakes Regional Library Renovation was born.
Libraries have evolved over the years, and today are no longer
simply a place to check out books. They are used as a gathering place for residents in the area, and more often then not, public libraries anchor communities.
Nowadays, these facilities encompass group study areas, wireless access/computer stations, meeting rooms for children’s story time events and movie nights, book signing and community forums.
Lee County Government
Construction Manager at Risk
The Lee County Library System, founded in 1964, has 13 branches to serve Lee County residents, including Lakes Regional Library. The 40,000 square-foot facility is one of the Lee County Library System’s largest locations. The library currently has over 294,000 registered users, over 1.5 million items available to use or check out, and circulates more than 6 million items per year, making it one of the busiest branches in the system.
Lakes Regional Library was in desperate need of a renovation, and with the help of a $1 million donation left by a South Fort Myers woman, Frances S. Prigmore, the renovation was made possible.
Working in conjunction with Parker/Mudgett/Smith Architects, Chris-Tel Construction began renovating the interior of the Library in March 2020. Renovations included reworking the children’s area to include a space for early literacy and tweens, updating the teen space, adding another study room in the adult area, updating the furniture and public service desk, increasing public restroom capacity and updating the “Friends of the Library” space.
Other non-visible improvements to the library remained just as important. Improvements were made to the library’s plumbing, HVAC, electrical, fire alarm, and sprinkler system. The restrooms also received a facelift and were brought up to ADA code compliance.
Additionally, part of the renovations involved adding an automated material handling (AMH) book drop system. The automated return and sorting system was intended to help Lakes Library get books on the shelves faster by increasing circulation and improving productivity. The indoor/outdoor book drop option offers additional convenience for library patrons, allowing books to be returned any time of the day from various convenient book drop locations throughout the library’s campus.
One of the challenges of this project was that the renovations and improvements were being completed on an occupied facility. Construction took place at night so that the library could remain open to the public and fully functional. Cleaning crews were utilized nightly to ensure the library was well-kept and clean for the following business day.
Construction took place over a period of eight months, coming in on time, under budget, and to the Owner’s complete satisfaction. Patrons of the library were just as excited by the new improvements and building upgrades and were eager to put the newly renovated space to good use.
Renovating the library and providing the much needed building upgrades has helped promote growth and strengthen the Lee County community, by allowing the focus of the library to be a hub of civic engagement.
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