No steps, no problem for OCC Library

       Until this week, restoration work on the Old Colorado City Library this summer had been a kind of sideshow for patrons. Even when the original windows started being removed for upgrades a few weeks ago, plastic covered the rough openings, the air- conditioning usually worked and people could get in and out of the building, the same as before.
       Until this week. That was when workers with G.E. Johnson Construction jackhammered the front steps into rubble.
       But it's still “business as usual,” Library Manager Julianne Rist said, noting that regular hours still apply. The big difference is that for now the only access is through the door next to the parking lot on the west side of the building.
       She said she does not expect the new steps to go in for about two weeks. The thing to look forward to there is that the new steps will be covered with sandstone, as they were when Andrew Carnegie originally funded the building's construction in 1904. Beneath the stone will be concrete.
       The initial idea was to put stone over the existing, 23-year-old concrete steps, Rist said; however, this would have changed the dimension of the steps from the original design - an unacceptable outcome in terms of the Colorado Historical Society grant that is paying most of the costs of this, the first phase of an estimated $1.7 million restoration project.
       Also being jackhammered this week was the concrete walkway on the east side of the building that leads to the building's emergency access. The new walkway, also concrete, is to have better drainage.
       Phase 1 work is to be completed this year. Rist said she could not predict when Phase 2 work will begin. Including upgrades to the building's electrical, plumbing, heating, ceiling and roof, that work will probably be the most expensive of the phases, she said.
       Construction documents are being prepared for Phase 2 at this time. Until they're done, probably this fall, an accurate estimate of its expected costs will not be known, she said.

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