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Demolition of the old Salem State University library is slated to take place over the next several months along Lafayette Street in Salem. Crews are currently doing preliminary work on the building.

SALEM — Salem State’s old library is coming down this summer.

The Lafayette Street building will be demolished in the coming weeks as the university’s new library is expected to open in the fall.

The old library opened in 1969 and closed in 2007 after it was deemed structurally unsound. It has been draped in scaffolding for six years, while students have been using an interim library facility.

The university has yet to decide what might be built on the old library’s footprint once it’s gone, said Tom Torello, the university’s vice president of marketing and communications.

Crews are doing preliminary work on the building this month, including demolition of the elevators. Demolition of the structure itself will begin in several weeks, Torello said.

The building’s complete removal will stretch over five months; the work is not expected to impact parking or traffic, according to the university.

A protected pedestrian sidewalk will be constructed along Lafayette Street during demolition, and measures will be taken to control dust and monitor vibrations throughout the process.

A first phase of building demolition was completed in 2011, allowing for construction of the new library on the rear of the property.

Demolition contractor JDC Demolition Co. Inc. will begin work on the building’s east and north sides, then switch to the west end of the building (closest to the new library) and move eastward to demolish the remainder of the building.

The old library had been plagued with problems since its construction.

Construction on Salem State’s new $74-million library began in late 2010 and is nearing completion. The building will be named for retired state Sen. Fred Berry.

Lee Kennedy Co., construction manager for the new library, is overseeing the demolition of the old library.

Bethany Bray can be reached at bbray@salemnews.com and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.

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