With the building renovation almost complete well over a month ahead of schedule, the Wauseon Public Library could reopen at its Elm Street location as soon as late April.
Finishing touches are being applied, and if upcoming county inspections are passed the building may be turned over for occupancy in about a month, said Marty Almester, site superintendent for Spieker Company, the project’s general contractor.
The library will move back from its temporary home at the former Bill’s Sports Center at 1052 N. Shoop Ave., where it relocated last August.
Remaining work includes the final cleaning phases and a list of miscellaneous jobs on the first floor, Almester said. They will require two more weeks, after which inspections will be scheduled.
“We’re really down to the end of the project,” he said.
The over $1 million renovation at the 117 E. Elm St. location included repairing the building’s crumbling foundation, installing a new elevator, tuck-pointing exterior brickwork, adding energy-efficient windows, modernizing the interior and entryway, and upgrading the four additions. The project was paid for in part by a $200,000 Community Development Block Grant received through the federal Targets of Opportunity Program.
Almester said the building’s deteriorating foundation, whose condition helped prompt the renovation, has been patched and waterproofed. “It was in very good shape for being 110 years old. It’s very solid,” he added.
WPL Director Maricela DeLeon said employees visited the Elm Street site Feb. 24 to view the improvements. She said all exterior work, including a new paint job and re-fashioned dormers, is complete. Inside, finished work includes five handicapped-accessible restrooms, a new ramp and new stairs in the Children’s Department, and HVAC systems and wall coverings.
Carpeting the building is in progress, after which shelving will be moved back in place.
“They’re really moving,” DeLeon said of the contractors. “I’m pleased with what I’ve seen.”
The interior will look much different than it did, with lots of natural light and a bit of the former space taken over by new windows and stairways, she said.
Not as many patrons frequent the temporary location, and while some have commented positively on the smaller quarters, DeLeon said the staff will be happy to return to Elm Street.
“We’re a little anxious to get going. We miss our place,” she said.
David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.
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