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Work on cafe at Connellsville's Carnegie Library moving along

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Rachel Basinger | For the Daily Courier
Students from Connellsville Career and Technology Center helped at the new cafe being constructed at the Carnegie Free Library in Connellsville. From left are (front) seniors Alyssa Schroyer and Shana Demmer; (back) Alex Brown, Robert Burkholder, instructor Vincent Speer, John Mitchell, Danny Darnell and Nick Brown.

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By Rachel Basinger
Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, 5:54 p.m.

Students at the Connellsville Area Career and Technical Center love the opportunity to put their skills to use and officials at the Carnegie Free Library were only too happy to provide that opportunity.

Students from the electrical occupations class and a few from the masonry class made their way to the library located on Connellsville's South Pittsburgh Street to help in the renovation process of adding a cafe to the library.

Library Director Casey Sirochman said the Friends of the Library have worked towards the goal of offering cappuccinos and — hopefully — soups and sandwiches in the cafe.

Library employee Beverley Motycka said at one time library officials had plans to renovate the entire basement in hopes of having an internet cafe complete with WiFi, a children's room and a lounge room, but the bids just came in too high.

The Friends of the Library came up with the idea of creating a smaller cafe in the former reading room where the microfilm and equipment for the visually impaired had been set up.

Students at the career center have been a huge help. They've removed the nine fluorescent lights in the room and put up new surface wire mold. Soon new lights will be installed.

Vincent Speer, instructor for the electrical occupations class, said the students enjoy doing small projects close to home. “At school, they build a project and then tear it apart again,” he said. “When they do projects like this, they know it will be permanent.”

Senior Robert Burkholder said he enjoys getting out of the classroom.

“These kind of projects really do help because it gives us a taste of what we'll be doing when we are out in the world doing it for a career,” he said, adding it makes him feel good to be able to help out the community, especially with such a historic building.

Students Shana Demmer and Alyssa Schroyer took on the title of project managers for this project, coordinating the work.

“I think it (the cafe) will help draw in a lot of people,” said Demmer.

The lights that will be hung in the cafe had been used in the library several decades ago.

The auto body class at the career center will be refurbishing the old lights and making them look new so that the electrical occupations class can hang them.

Sirochman said the help from the students at the career center is invaluable.

“We couldn't afford to have our lighting updated without their help,” she said. “It's always good to have the students get involved. It gives them a chance to help make a local historical treasure a little better.”

Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.

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