Teenagers now have their own spot in Mascoutah's Public Library.
The new Teen Center, approved for construction by the City Council in December, was officially launched Sunday in a ribbon-cutting ceremony just outside the center doors.
"I'm just really excited about this," Library Administrator Marian Albers said.
The Teen Center is an enclosed room placed in what had been an area reserved for juvenile books. It contains glass windows to allow library staff to monitor teens, but includes a high-definition television with couches, computers, sitting booths for teenagers to relax and a study area with desks.
Reading in the Teen Center is teen oriented.
A Nintendo Wii video game console will eventually be installed as well, though it was not ready for addition in time for the ribbon cutting. A cabinet made to house the Wii and a new DVD player was still being built by shop class students at Mascoutah High School.
The project cost about $65,000, with most of the money coming from donations.
"This wouldn't have happened without it," Albers said.
Adults will not be allowed inside the Teen Center. The idea is to give teenagers a place to enjoy in the library exclusively to themselves, so then they can learn to use the library at an age most don't go there.
"The Library Board … really outshone themselves," Mascoutah Mayor Jerry Daugherty said.
Donors included memorials for Alice Reider, Meryl Schroeder and Leah Gougeon.
Construction was done by Brendel Architects and Strube Construction.
The Macoutah High School shop class, including students Ryan Haas, Kyle Menchau, Erin Mueth, Zachary Rasch, built shelves and the DVD and Wii cabinet.
Pat Schroeder donated for the stained glass entrance. Eldon Ahner donated the stained glass artwork. Clyde "Red" Lemke made a mural lining a wall with movie posters donated by the Belleville GameStop. Lynette Hinkle had some decorating ideas. The Marie Erwin Memorial Fund bought a computer. Mascoutah Friends of the Library paid for the sitting booths. Mascoutah Tuesday Woman's Club gave money for some furniture and supplied cookies for Sunday's event. Russell Murphy donated volunteer hours moving some items around in the library.
The Teen Center is open at the same times the Library is: 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and closed on Sunday.