It's now "full steam ahead" for a long-planned project to turn Binghamton's Carnegie Library into a SUNY Broome Culinary Arts Center.

Community college president Kevin Drumm Thursday said after a series of delays, "this time it's really for real."

Workers on the east side of the Carnegie Library building on May 17, 2018. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

Speaking on WNBF Radio's Binghamton Now program, Drumm said: "The major construction has commenced. The contractors are in place."

Drumm said people can expect to see "an enormous amount of activity" at the historic library building on Exchange Street "over the next 15 to 18 months."

A range of issues that included securing state funding and concerns about federal historic tax credits resulted in a delay in restoration work.

In addition to the planned educational facilities, the center will include an event space. The project now is expected to cost about $20 million.

Drumm said he expects 30 to 60 students will be enrolled in the first year of SUNY Broome's culinary arts program.

Drumm said students could start using the downtown facility in early 2020.

The sidewalk on Exchange Street is closed as restoration work begins on the long-closed library. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

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