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The Delavan-Darien boys soccer team advances to the D3 state championship game with a 6-2 win over Rice Lake. They’ll face Mt. Horeb Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014 at noon.

Thursday, 30 October 2014 00:00

Starting a new chapter at Orfordville library

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MESSENGER -- For the first time in more than 100 years, the Orfordville Public Library soon will have a new home.

The library is set to move in December from 203 W. Beloit St. to 519 E. Beloit St., the former location of Harvest Community Church. The library purchased the building from the church for about $200,000 during the summer. The church recently moved to a location across the street from the current library.

Sarah Strunz, director of the Orfordville Public Library, said the new location will have more space for patrons, improved shelving, more comfortable seating, improved handicap accessibility and more convenient parking.

“I’m just hoping to do everything we already do, but only better,” Strunz said. “Because we already do a good job in this little facility, I’m anticipating that we will do a little better when we have that much more room to do our job.” Read the current edition here: http://www.server-jbmultimedia.net/CSI-JanesvilleMessengerSunday

The new location also should help improve the library’s programs.

“We might not increase the amount of programs, but it will be easier to execute them,” Strunz said. “Because of a larger facility, we won’t have to move things around to make something happen like we do at the current library. We will probably enhance teen programming in the summer. Last summer, we already had a teen program that was successful.”

In addition to books, the library offers audio books, DVDs, CDs, e-books, Wi-Fi and computer access.

“We offer everything that everybody else does,” Strunz said.

The number of patrons who visit the library has remained steady the past couple of years; however, Strunz said usage will likely increase once the library moves into its new location.

“I’m anticipating more people will be visiting when we get into the new facility,” Strunz said. “I’m hoping the residents who are wheelchair-bound or who find it difficult to maneuver in (the current) building will feel like they can come.

“We will have more places for people to sit and feel comfortable. It will be a more comfortable setting for everyone.”

Judy Albright, a member of the Orfordville Public Library Board and the Greater Orfordville Area Library Friends, said she is looking forward to the move.

“I’m excited. I’m so much a big advocate of the library,” Albright said. “I’m on the library board and a member of the friends group and I volunteer at the library on Mondays, so I’m a huge backer of the library. I think this is an excellent thing for the library.”

Before the library opens in its new location, several projects need to be completed, including installing new floors, renovating the restrooms, installing new ceiling tiles and installing computer wiring. Furniture and bookshelves also need to be purchased.

Donations are being accepted to help fund the renovations, Strunz said.

“A lot of work needs to get done before we move in,” Albright said. “A lot of people have volunteered their time and money to help with this move. I think people are excited about getting a bigger library. I think this will be a good thing for the people of Orfordville.”

The building also is conducive for future expansion.

“There’s no utilities on the back of the building, so you can expand the back of the building and there’s enough land,” Strunz said. “If there was a desire in the future, someone could go ahead and do that.”

A new location has been planned for the library since 2008. Library officials originally planned to build a new facility, but decided it would be more cost effective to move into an existing facility once the church building became available. Money that was raised to construct a new building was used to purchase the church building, as well as money donated from the village of Orfordville.

“When (the church) became available, we thought we’ve been having trouble the past few years coming to the $500,000 mark (to build a new library),” Strunz said. “When this building became available, we had people come look at it and inspect it. The inspectors gave it a thumbs-up, so the village was on board and the library board was on board.

“It’s one of those things that just kind of came together. The church was wanting to downsize a bit, so we came to an agreement and now we’re here.”

Once the library is moved into its new facility, the current library building could be used as a firehouse museum.

“The downstairs of this building was the original firehouse,” Strunz said. “Personally, I’m hoping that happens. (The fire department) has some equipment that was here.”

WILLIAMS BAY -- Students at Williams Bay Elementary School invited senior citizens from the community to visit the school and participate in a patriotic program Oct. 22, 2014 in honor of the 200th birthday of the "The Star-Spangled Banner," the United States' national anthem.

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WILLIAM BAY —The bell will soon ring again at the Belfry Theater under the new ownership group called Transformative Arts.

The 501c3 nonprofit Christian arts organization currently is fundraising and plans a complete renovation of the theater, which they hope to open in the summer of 2016.

On Sunday, Nov. 2, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the curious can take a tour of the Belfry Theatre, and for a $5 donation, can ring the old bell.

It’s the same bell that called Mormons to worship in this building more than 120 years ago. In 1888, a group of 100 families built the church, but when the Mormons left this area for Illinois, a Summerstock company bought the building. The Belfry became the first Wisconsin Summerstock Theatre in 1934.

“To hear that bell ring again —it’s over a 100 years old — is so wonderful,” said Anne Conners, development director for the nonprofit group.

The theater helped further the careers of Harrison Ford, Paul Newman and Gary Burghoff (Radar O’Reilly on M*A*S*H*), a Delavan native.

Conners said they also are inviting children to make their mark in chalk on the bare walls before the reconstruction takes place.

“Right now, it is all stripped down to the walls. You can really see the bare bones of the old church,” she said. “We’re inviting the kids to write their names on the walls before they get covered up again.”

The building is listed on National Register of Historic Places.

If you go

Ring the bell at the Belfry
What: Fundraiser for Transformative Arts at the Belfry Theatre
 When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 2
 Where: The Belfry Theatre, 3601 Wisconsin Highway 67 at Bailey Road, Williams Bay

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