Construction Continues at ELPL Amid Concerns About Increasing Costs

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Emily Joan Elliott for ELi

Construction outside the library continues.

At a meeting of the East Lansing Public Library Board of Trustees on Sept. 22, Library Director Kristin Shelley provided an update on the ongoing construction taking place in and around the library, including plans for asbestos abatement and mold remediation. She informed the Board that the cost of the work could reach $1.5 million, and talked with them about the financing of the work.

Shelley had informed the Board at its Sept. 1 meeting of issues with dampness in the building and the possible need for asbestos abatement.

On Oct. 4, concrete work will resume in front of the library, and shortly after, asphalt and sidewalk work will commence. According to Shelley, the hope is to reopen the main entrance by November. Currently, patrons are instructed to use a side entrance at the far end of the parking lot.

Heather Brothers for ELi

A sign outside the library as construction continues on.

Also ongoing is work on the mechanical rooms, which includes the mitigation of mold and asbestos. To be cautious, the Board unanimously passed a resolution that will allow Shelley to close the library for a few days for further remediation during the coming year.

Shelley also told the Board about the upcoming delivery of new boilers, some planned renovations of corridors near the executive offices, and some unexpected hiccups that have been uncovered. Due to some “significant” cracks in the limestone, water has been appearing in various locations, along with cold drafts, Shelley said.

Emily Joan Elliott for ELi

Construction outside the library continues.

She added that she is “nervous” what they will find when examining the foundation and these cracks. Shelley said that as they uncover new problems in an older building, the renovations could end up costing near $1.5 million by the time they’re through.

This raised concerns about how much money the library is spending on renovations along with questions about whether the City can help defray costs.

Trustee Amy Zaagman suggested that the Board approach the City for help with the continuous work on a building the City itself owns. Zaagman offered to make a presentation to the City Council and hoped that there might be federal funds available to assist in covering renovation costs.

The Board agreed with Zaagman and made plans to have a draft of their request by the library trustees’ next meeting, which was moved to Oct. 27, in order to meet following the next round of negotiations with ELPL workers on Oct. 22.

Note: Next week, ELi will bring additional reports from the trustees’ Sept. 22 meeting.

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