Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Bay library remodeling on schedule

by Chris Schultz

November 03, 2011

WILLIAMS BAY —- Library Director Ann Becker will be out of her office next week, but she’s not taking any time out.

She’s moving to a new office downstairs.

As part of a larger library-remodeling project, plans call for Becker’s erstwhile office to be converted into a computer room to house the computers and desks that now line the library’s hallways.

Despite bumping into some unexpected work, the repair and remodeling of Barrett Memorial Library is continuing on schedule, with a completion date of January 2012, Becker said during a short tour of the work on Friday.

Among the unpleasant surprises was the discovery of asbestos tile under the library carpeting.

“We really didn’t plan for removal of asbestos,” Becker said.

The library will be closed from Nov. 23 to 28 to give workers time to remove the asbestos safely, she said.

The library will reopen the week of Nov. 28 in the lower level only. The upper level will reopen Dec. 5, just in time for the library’s official tree lighting on Dec. 6, Becker said.

But the library won’t be completely unpacked and back to normal until January, Becker said.

Another unexpected cost was the discovery of a section of rotting roof. The library will add a new, pitched roof, Becker said.

And, with the recent approval of the Village Board, the sidewalk leading to the library’s front door will be repaired.

The remodeling is expected to cost $366,208.

Most of that will come from Williams Bay’s undesignated surplus fund, said Village Administrator Bob Carlson.

However, some unexpected costs will be paid out of a $3.4 million bond issue the Village Board recently approved to pay for capital projects.

Carlson said roof repairs will cost about $12,340, and fixing the sidewalk will cost about $7,433. At this time, the cost of the asbestos removal is still unknown, he said.

Scherrer Construction of Burlington is doing the work.

The remodeling, which started in August, is intended to allow the library building to be used to its full capacity.

Once the village’s municipal building, which housed the police department, the library, the Village Board meeting room and staff offices, the library’s upper floor has 2,500 square feet and the lower level about 1,500 square feet.

Not all of that was being used efficiently, Becker said.

The remodeling will allow the library to spread out a bit, as well, and add amenities, such as individual reading tables around the upstairs fireplace.

While most of the changes are to the interior, a handicapped-accessible elevator, with shaft and mechanical room outside the library is being built into the library’s east wall near the south corner of the building.

That would be the only addition to the building’s footprint, Becker said.

Advance elevator of Big Bend, Wis., is installing the elevator.

Outside of the new elevator, perhaps the biggest change would be the removal of a wall and door behind the circulation desk.

It is also the change that’s most anticipated by the library staff, Becker said.

Removal of the wall will expose an architectural flourish of an ascending series of windows, which will flood the main floor of the library with sunlight.

While patrons will notice the less cluttered library stacks, new carpeting and fresh paint, other improvements won’t be as obvious.

The library’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system is also being updated.

The lower level, used for years as a teen lounge and offices for the village Recreation Department, will retain its accent on youth and recreation, said Becker.

But the lounge area will be repurposed, so it can be a community room to be used by the knitting club or other organizations during the day, she said.

The Williams Bay Recreation Department is being temporarily housed on the main floor of the library, but when the remodeling is complete, the office will be on the lower floor.

The only luxury item on the remodeling list is gas inserts into the downstairs fireplace, so it can act like a real fireplace, Becker said.

Plans call for part of the library’s 30,000-item collection to be relocated downstairs. Most of the downstairs collection will probably be young adult books, said Becker.