The basement of the Colchester Meeting House is undergoing renovations thanks to the generous donation by a late library patron.
Sarah Crocker, a Colchester resident who died in May 2015 after a long battle with cancer, donated approximately $40,000 to the Friends of the Burnham Library, library director Kelly McCagg said.
“She didn’t have any stipulations. [The money] was just left to the Friends,” McCagg explained. “They asked the library how we thought we could best use the money.”
Around the same time, the library acquired stewardship of the meetinghouse, she said. Library staff decided renovating the lower level of the building would be the best decision for everyone, she explained.
McCagg said the new space will be used to expand the library’s workshop potential.
“We do little [workshops] now at the library, and they’re pretty popular,” McCagg explained, noting that a program later this month has a waiting list longer than the size of the class. “We’re really limited over here for the size of the groups, so it’ll help us to be able to offer it to more people.”
The new space is being opened up and walls knocked down to install a full kitchen with appliances and tall countertop tables for larger cooking classes, she said. Additionally, the larger space provides the potential to house looms for more expansive fiber arts classes, she said.
The bright green walls and colorful patchwork floors that are already installed indicate the space will be flourishing with creativity and playful activity. McCagg said the design work for the space was donated by Christine Burdick Designs in Burlington. Burdick has also worked on local commercial spaces including Patagonia, The Essex Culinary Resort & Spa and Ben & Jerry’s.
“We’re just really appreciative,” McCagg said. “She’s gotten some other things donated or lower cost for us, so we appreciate that a lot.”
McCagg said construction will most likely be finished by the end of November. Library patrons can expect workshops will be held in the space in December.