DeWitt library work begins

DEWITT — The fencing is up and heavy equipment has taken its place around the Frances Banta Waggoner Community Library.

“It looks like a construction site now,” said Jillian Aschliman, library director, at the board’s recent regular monthly meeting. “Things are moving along, which is pretty exciting.”

In fact, when local second-graders came to tour the library recently, the bulldozers and other machinery were the big attractions, she said.

Bettendorf-based Precision Builders Inc. began work this month on the $5.7 million library expansion and renovation, which is expected to be completed in August 2020.

The library will remain open for almost all that time, except for some periods when moving will take place.

If construction work will have any effect on the city, library or adjacent First Central State Bank property operations, the builder will give 72 hours’ notice, Aschliman said, although interruptions are expected to be minimal.

Regular construction update meetings are planned with the builder, city and library representatives, she said.

Next on the expansion project agenda is selecting the design and layout of the new furniture, Aschliman said. Those decisions need to be made by September so bids can be sought for October and an order placed in the fall. There will be a 12- to 13-week wait once the order is placed.

The project, which will more than triple the library’s size, is being funded by a $3.5 million bond referendum, more than $2 million in private donations and grants, and $20,000 from the Clinton County Board of Supervisors.

As work begins on the new structure, the library has dealt with several unrelated facility issues. In the past week, the electrical outlet in front of the library broke and has been fixed, and the outside handicap door button is not working and will be fixed, Aschliman said.

“The biggest issue is there is a significant leak in the back conference room,” she said. “It has been leaving puddles on the floor. We’ve put up waste bins. We’re not letting people use the conference room right now because it’s just sopping wet.”

Aschliman said she’d like to get it back into service as soon as possible, and a roofing company will do the needed repairs as soon as it can get there.

In other business:

● Aschliman told the board that she is pursuing several more grants for the library expansion project. Those include a $15,000 grant through the Victor and Doris Day Fund for construction costs; a $10,000 grant through the State Library/Library Services and Technology Act for three literacy machines; a $15,000 grant through the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines; and a Wellmark Grant for a Geri-Fit program at the library.

● The library now has passes for the Sawmill Museum and the Felix Adler Family Museum in Clinton. Patrons may check those out for three days at a time. The library last summer began offering passes to the Putnam Museum in Davenport. Friends of Frances assisted with purchasing the passes. The library also is working on the details with the DeWitt Parks and Recreation Department to have pool passes for checkout at the library. Those passes will likely be available for a 24-hour period and to adults only.