The last major phase of construction for the Lewiston City Library is now complete, and it’s one that will allow patrons to take in a view and some fresh air while they peruse their latest tomes or listen to an author give a talk.

Officially called the Rooftop Gallery and Performance Space, the new amenity on the downtown facility’s second floor opened to the public this week. A grand opening and open house will be held today from 1-6:30 p.m.

The project was originally scheduled to open last fall, but the COVID-19 pandemic led to worker illnesses and persistent delays in the delivery of building materials that put off completion until now, library Director Lynn Johnson said. Still, the project was able to adhere to its $675,000 budget, which was entirely covered by private donations to the Lewiston Library Foundation.

“Kudos to the foundation for putting this space here,” Johnson said. “It’s amazing.”

The foundation had originally raised sufficient funds to just complete the outdoor portion of the rooftop space. But President Marsha Creason was able to convince the Lewiston City Council to give it time to raise enough money to include a 520-square-foot multipurpose room with large exterior doors that open on the rooftop gallery.

“We’re really pleased with the community and the support we got, and the City Council, too,” Creason said.

When the doors are closed, the space can be used as a conference room, stage or a platform for the Lewiston City Council or other boards to gather and face an audience in the large second-floor meeting room.

Creason said the foundation will continue raising funds to buy another set of interior sliding glass doors that can completely isolate the multipurpose room from the meeting room and the rooftop gallery. Foundation members are also raising funds for partitions in the second-floor computer lab, and other indoor and outdoor furnishings. Johnson said some outdoor benches are on order, but have been delayed because of supply chain issues.

Johnson said the rooftop gallery will eventually have all the amenities it needs to make it a comfortable place to read, study or just relax and take in views of the Clearwater River, Railroad Bridge and the Lewiston Hill.

The gallery is paved with 600 “floating” tiles that allow water to flow between them and onto the roof for drainage. The foundation is selling sponsorships for each tile for $5,000, and sponsors can inscribe names, sayings or memorials on their tile. Creason said 44 have been sold to date, and those who are interested may call her at (208) 413-3024.

Other touches include a large stainless steel sink and counter area that will help with various library programs and children’s story time. It will also be handy for patrons to clean up their little messes after lunch, Johnson said. For safety, the space is edged with a locally manufactured railing and floor-level planters teeming with 11 varieties of sedum, a hearty succulent that is relatively easy to care for.

There is also a 680-square-foot metal canopy that will provide shade on hot days, although the gallery’s orientation on the north side of the building already offers some protection. And ramps at two locations help make the space fully accessible to disabled people.

The gallery will be open to the public during regular library open hours, except during inclement weather. Johnson encouraged library patrons to access the space from the east side of the second floor of the library. In addition to the grand opening, the gallery will be open to the public for child and adult summer reading program registration through Saturday.

Mills may be contacted at jmills@lmtribune.com or at (208) 310-1901, ext. 2266.

If You Go

What: Lewiston City Library Rooftop Gallery and Performance Space grand opening and open house.

When: 1-6:30 p.m. today

Where: Second floor of the library, 411 D St.

Admission: Free.