The approximately 40-year-old Reddick Public Library in Ottawa will soon see some changes.
The library is renovating the building to update old systems, fix major flaws and better provide for its customers. The project includes repairing the concrete floor slabs, replacing heating and cooling systems, adding new study, reading, teen and meeting rooms, new walls, new carpeting and new or re-covered furniture.
“We are in a 40-year-old building that’s feeling its age,” said Kathy Clair, library director.
Clair said most of the project includes items the public won’t see or maybe notice like roofing and windows, but she said all are necessary improvements. One improvement will be adding walls between sections to reduce noise levels across the library.
The $2 million project officially kicked off this week, with the library awarding bids at Monday’s board meeting. Vissering Construction, Streator received the general bid for $634,700. John’s Service and Sales, Oglesby received the plumbing contract for $20,775 and won mechanical systems bidding for $419,000. Halm Electrical, Ottawa received the electrical contract for $182,844. Furnishings were not included in the bids and will be provided later by the contractor.
“There will be no increase in taxes for taxpayers,” Clair said. “We are very excited that (the project) is self-funded.”
Half of the project will be paid from library reserve funds and the rest from a 10-year loan. Clair said the idea for the project started five years ago and has taken many shapes, but the library board thought this plan was the most reasonable and fiscally responsible option.
Early this month, the library staff began preparing for the construction by emptying out the north side, which includes the adult section, and placing a temporary wall to separate the renovation from library patrons.
Many books were placed on the other side where patrons can still access them. However, many of the books and larger pieces of furniture will be placed in either a 40-foot or 20-foot temporary pod the library rented to store items during the construction.
Clair said the library did not have enough space to keep everything on display during the renovations. The books being placed in storage are older and used less often, and more than half of the collection will still be available. New books still will come to the library, and patrons still can order books using the interlibrary loan system.
The north-side work should be finished in four months, and crews will move to the south side, which is the children’s section. The crew should spend two months on that portion and move to renovating the entryway. The project is expected to be completed by fall 2014.
“We anticipate staying open most of the time,” Clair said. She added that patrons can call or visit the library’s website for changes in the schedule.
Renovations will take place between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and Clair said to expect noise during that time. She added that the library is open until 9 p.m. most days and on weekends when construction will not take place. She said she hopes people still visit the library during the renovation process.
“We are very excited to watch it unfold,” said Clair. “The end product will be spectacular.”
Alicia LeGrand-Riniker can be reached at (815) 220-6931 or firstname.lastname@example.org.