DeWitt library construction ramps up

DeWITT — Library Director Jillian Aschliman probably has been accused of being “book smart” once or twice.

Lately, however, she is definitely getting the type of education that one can’t get from a book.

“I think we’re finally done coordinating with the utilities,” Aschliman said of the upcoming construction of an addition to the library. “There are a lot of moving pieces.”

Although there might not be much visual evidence that construction has started, she can feel it. The vibration from the sledgehammers is a dead giveaway.

The library also is no longer the quietest place in town.

“We had a lot of drilling going on today,” Aschliman said.

She said that the “exciting” part of the construction process is starting to ramp up, with much of the foundational work having been completed.

Aschliman said regular programing for kids and teens remains in effect. The library runs a lot of reading activities at this time of year to do whatever it can to prevent the “summer slide” for young students.

“Once kids come to the library, they usually leave with a book under their arm, which is our goal for every child that comes in,” she said.

One of the things that complicated the planning process is resolving an accessibility challenge for big machinery that needed to have access to the construction area and to neighboring businesses.

An area between the library and First Central State Bank was viewed as an area that needed to be widened for use by heavy machinery.

As a result, much of the driving lane to the bank’s ATM had to be torn apart to create more room for that access point.

No one could recall the date in which the drive-thru lane’s destruction took place or how long that lane has been inaccessible.

An elevation issue at the automatic-teller machine finally has been resolved, Aschliman said, and crews were pouring new concrete for a drive-thru lane Tuesday.

“The ATM was closed a little longer than we anticipated,” she said, adding that she also has made sure to keep First Central in the loop on the situation. “The bank was very understanding.”

Workers continued to pour new concrete between the bank and the library throughout the week. Bank officials did not want to specify an exact date as to when the ATM lane officially will open, saying only that it would be soon.

“We are grateful for the patience of our customers,” said Leo McGarry, senior vice president. “We understand that some things take longer than one would expect.”