MELROSE — The School Committee voted Tuesday to allow the Melrose Public Library to set up temporarily in the Beebe School on West Foster Street.

Library Director Linda Gardener and city Planning and Community Development Director Denise Gaffey successfully pitched their plan to school board members as Melrose prepares to see its iconic West Emerson Street library significantly improved.

In a memo, Gardener and Gaffey wrote the library renovation project is a significant “renovation to the existing library facility and will include a comprehensive rehabilitation of the original Carnegie library and the replacement of the 1960s addition with a new building addition. The Project involves extensive demolition, and the building and site cannot be occupied during construction. However, the library must continue to operate at a minimal level during construction pursuant to the requirements of the grant program that is providing funds toward the Project. Therefore, the library needs to relocate temporarily to an alternate space.

“The Beebe School has been identified as an ideal option for this purpose. The Beebe School is currently unoccupied and there appears to be ample space to store library materials and provide a fully accessible browsing and circulation area for the public while construction is underway.

“The planning for this phase of the project is in its early stages at this time, and we recently visited the Beebe School with Facility Manager Jay McNeil and members of the Project design team. During this visit we identified areas of the building that will function well as temporary library space for browsing and circulating materials, specifically the wing in the rear of the building that contains the all-purpose room and the kindergarten classrooms. These spaces are fully accessible to the public from the parking lot and the wing can be secured to prevent patrons from accessing other areas of the building while the library is open.

“In addition to these spaces which would be open to the public, the remaining spaces on the first floor (four classrooms, the school library, the administration area and the breakroom) are well suited for book storage and back-office operations for library staff, including staff break room, office space for administrative staff, workspace for the tech staff and shelf space for the collection. These spaces will not be accessible to the public at any time.

“Based on our recent site visit with the architect and Jay McNeil, there is minimal work that needs to occur for the temporary library occupancy. The entry to the rear wing is fully accessible but there are some loose floor tiles in the vestibule that will need to be abated and replaced; the all-purpose room will need to be outfitted with a heat pump unit to provide cooling in the summer; and ideally an opening will be made to the wall separating the two spaces in the kindergarten area to allow for one large space for a children’s browsing room. These are all relatively small items that the project can fund, and the work would occur under the Facility Manager’s oversight.

“The schedule for occupancy for temporary library space correlates with the bidding and construction phases of the renovation project. At this time, it is anticipated that the library would move into the space in late August of this year, open to the public in late September and occupy the space through January of 2024. The space would be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

“It is exciting and fortunate for the community to have the opportunity for such an ideal space to keep the library functioning during construction. It is beneficial to maintain activity in the building while it is otherwise not being used as a school and to provide time to determine the next steps for the Beebe School as an educational facility. There will continue to be space to store surplus school furniture and school supplies while the library also occupies the building. From a security standpoint, the building will be staffed whenever it is open to the public and the library custodian will be working out of the building and providing maintenance during the entire occupancy,” the memo concludes.