Library restoration nearly complete

Joe Heinen & Jessica Bergin

Photo by Clarke Davis
Joe Heinen and Jessica Bergin have overseen the remodeling of the Delaware Township Library, which is nearly complete. The new facility is a gift to the community made possible by the late Dorcus Turner.



by Clarke Davis
The remodeling of the Delaware Township library is nearly complete and is now available for patrons to use and enjoy.
“We need some new carpet in the meeting room and there’s some exterior work that still needs to be done but it’s nearly finished,” Librarian Jessica Bergin said.
Work began in August, when Heinen Custom Operations completely gutted two-thirds of the 30-by-90-foot steel building and started over.
Overseeing the construction as project manager was Joe Heinen, a local farmer and retired Leavenworth-Jefferson Electric Cooperative assistant manager.
Heinen said it was an “as build” project, making many of the decisions as they progressed. He’s particularly proud of the money saved in recycling some of the materials that were in the building.
“We salvaged and reused all the old insulation,” he said. After this insulation was reinstalled, new cellulose insulation was blown in to seal it up even tighter.
Much of the lumber was reused and the light fixtures were saved and converted to LED lighting. The best ceiling tile from the west section was reused in the meeting room.
“Besides creating a better library we wanted it to be energy efficient as well,” Bergin said.
So far it’s paying off. It’s all electric and the bill to heat two-thirds of the building used to run over $600, but a recent bill to heat the entire building was under $500.
“It’s going to start paying back,” Heinen said.
A couple of features Heinen pointed out are the location of computer cables dropped along the walls every eight feet and an open crawl space under the roof extending the full length of the building to allow access for dropping cable and doing electrical work.
“We’re just planning for the future,” he said.
The meeting room, which will seat about 30, is available. It is equipped with a small kitchenette and has its own outside entrance, so it can be used when the library is closed.
Bergin said there is no charge for nonprofit groups to use it and there is currently a book club and a yoga group who are regulars. It’s also available for children to do their schoolwork.
The spacious library has a children’s book section, an area with 10 computers, a check-out and information desk, and a private office for the librarian. The bookshelves have been refinished and the furniture has been donated. Wi-Fi is also available.
Bergin is particularly happy with the addition of some windows on the south side and an expanded window on the north.
“They had to be split into a smaller window on top and one on the bottom because of a steel beam that runs through the center of the wall,” she said.
A double entry on the west provides a lobby, which also saves energy.
Some of the exterior metal has rusted around the bottom and needs to be replaced. Heinen said they want to cut away the metal up about 36 inches from the bottom and replace it with some kind of wainscoting.
Bergin said brick or rock around the front would help it look more like a library, but they would have to see how the dollars hold up.
The project was made possible with a $100,000 gift left to the library by the late Dorcus Turner. Bergin said they have not tabulated all costs yet, but additional donations will be needed to fulfill all the plans and dreams the library board would like to accomplish. Creating additional parking is one thing.
The steel building was built in the early 1970s by the Heller Construction Co., which was in the business of building metal buildings. The township and city shared ownership for some time with the library in one-third, city hall in the middle third, and the west end housing District 11 ambulance.
The ambulance moved to new quarters allowing the city to move over and the library consumed another one-third of the building. In the past year the city moved its office to Broadway Street along with the police station turning the entire building over to the township for library use.
“The city’s cooperation was key,” Bergin said. “We didn’t have to spend any money for land or the building.”         It was a year ago in January when the librarian and the library board held a town hall meeting and began asking the public what it desired.
“We incorporated those ideas from the community into our plans and started the process,” Bergin said.
They both said there are a lot of thank-yous to be expressed and the library board will do so in time.
Heinen, who donated his time to oversee the project, said there were construction workers who donated labor to the project and he knows the contractors on occasion provided equipment and materials at no cost.
“It’s been a real community effort and I believe it’s something the community can take pride in,” Bergin said. “If someone is thinking of moving to our community, maybe a modern library will be the tipping point in making that decision.”
The library board consists of Willie Schmelzle, chairman, Jody Lockhart, Carolyn Edwards, Donna Dunn, and Jeanie Frakes.
Bergin, who has been the librarian since July 2014 has been on leave after giving birth to twin boys, Thomas Sean and William James, Dec. 7. She and her husband, Justin, also have a daughter, Eleanor, who will soon be 3. She will return to work Feb. 1.
Patsy Frommer is Bergin’s assistant and helpers in her absence have been Carol Braum and Camille Jones.

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Posted by on Feb 9 2016. Filed under The Vindicator. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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