Ceiling surprise alters OCC Library preservation effort
Grant award will allow new phasing plan to be developed

       The Old Colorado City Branch Library had a plan for its preservation project. It covered nearly every problem in the century-old Carnegie building except plaster coming off the ceiling.
       So of course plaster started coming off the ceiling.
       As a result, the library needed a new plan. A step in that direction occurred last week, with the award of a $24,500 design grant from the Colorado Historical Society. The hope, according to Library Man-ager Julianne Rist, is that sometime this month or early January the Pikes Peak Li-brary District Board will use the grant to hire an architect who can create revised renovation plans by March.
       The timetable is key because April will be the next month the library can apply to the state for a construction grant. Rist said she does not know yet how expensive the work might turn out to be. The plan will “allow us to know how much everything is going to cost,” she said.
       The previous overall preservation estimate had been $1.7 million.
       Research that will help the architect's cost assessment is already underway. The ceiling-plaster problem happened in August. In September, the library started a three-month monitoring program to verify that its foundation repairs - which kicked off the preservation project last fall - did not cause the ceiling issues. “We're hoping for a report on that this month,” Rist said.
       The foundation work had been part of the project's original phase 1, addressing structural integrity. Replacements of exterior windows, doors and stairs, the next part of that phase, would have begun last August had the ceiling problem not occurred, Rist said.
       Adding to the time-sensitivity, a previously awarded grant for phase 1 must be used by August 2005.
       The other two phases in the original plan were to have covered interior renovations/ mechanical systems and landscaping/parking lot upgrades.
       Rist said she does not know how the phasing will work in the new plan, but that the scope of the architect's plan encompasses the building interior (except the basement), plus the roof.
       Donations to help match grants are continuing to be sought by the Old Colorado City library.
       The ceiling has been temporarily shored up since August by long boards attached to it at intervals.
       When the ceiling repair is done, the library will have to be closed for safety reasons, she added. She had no estimate of when this would take place or how long the closure would last.

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