Work To Close Huntington For 3 Weeks
By JENNIFER HILL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – The Huntington Memorial Library is about to get a little work done.
“The third floor is going to get a real facelift,” said Tina Winstead, library director.
The Chestnut Street library will be closed for three weeks starting Tuesday, Jan. 22 for considerable remodeling and reconstruction, including asbestos abatement, insulation upgrades and new furniture.
“It will get worse before it gets better,” she said. “but we think people will really like the results.”
The main affected area consists of the first floor entry or “computer” room and the two stories above it, which was built in 1959.
Winstead said the major construction project will make the library more energy-efficient and improve both the appearance and the usability of rooms. “The insulation in the building is from the late 1970s,” Winstead said. “It has settled and made the library drafty. We also wanted to be better stewards of the environment.”
But that method could not be used for the 1959 Addition’s three stories of walls, floors, and ceilings because they contain asbestos. “Asbestos is not dangerous as long as it’s left alone, but that meant we could not even put screws in the walls because then asbestos particles would be released,” Winstead said.
The asbestos-containing walls, floors, and ceilings must be torn down and removed completely from the site through special tunnels, so that the asbestos touches nothing. It is during this phase of the project that the library will be closed.
When the library re-opens on Saturday, Feb. 9, the rooms that make up the 1959 Addition will be inaccessible, including the Reading Room on the first floor. Winstead warned the on-going construction will be noisy, but the library staff is doing what they can to accommodate library patrons.
“All books checked out now will not be due until Feb. 19,” she said. And the book return will be open. People will have to walk to the front of the library to access it.”
Funding for the reconstruction project, which is estimated cost $200,000, will come from various sources. Winstead received a $65,000 Library Reconstruction Aid, a state grant and has tapped the library’s building fund, as well as a bequest given to library.
In addition, an anonymous foundation will give $30,0000, and Friends of Library are also pitching in an unknown amount. “It’s a real community effort,” Winstead said.