Library receives $250,000 grant for Phase 2 of rehab
A $250,000 grant from the State Historical Fund has raised hopes that Phase 2 of the Old Colorado City Library rehabilitation project can get started this year.
“It's wonderful news,” enthused Library Manager Julianne Rist.
The library, originally funded by industrialist/philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1904, is “a very significant resource in the context of the historic district and in its own right,” Historical Fund officials wrote to the Pikes Peak Library District Foundation, which had applied for the grant earlier this year. “The scope of work is very strongly related to the preservation of the building as well.”
The grant amount was the maximum possible based on the project size, explained Delores Fowler, the foundation's executive officer.
Phase 2 is to upgrade the interior of the library at 2418 W. Pikes Peak Ave. Work will address heating, plumbing, electrical, computers (including wireless access and laptop usage), employee work areas, expanded user space (especially in the now-barely used basement), the addition of an elevator and the failing (currently wood- braced) ceiling.
Although six-month-old construction documents estimate a $782,000 expense - which could slide higher based on recently increased construction costs nationwide - Rist said it would be possible to start work without having the full amount in hand.
A contractor can be hired once the district receives the formal letter of contract from the Historical Fund. That will take from 45 to 60 days, she said.
In the meantime, the foundation is applying for additional grants, using the new grant as leverage. “Having a grant from the State Historical Fund helps a lot because people know it will be done within the Secretary of the Interior guidelines, which means it will be done properly,” Rist said.
No work timetable can be established until a contractor is hired and analyzes how the work should be done. The project would need to be completed within 18 months to stay within the grant guidelines, she noted.
Rist also revealed that, because much of the work will be in the library's main service area, it will be necessary to close it “for an extended time” during the project. How long, she could not hazard a guess. “I might say a month, and the contractor might say 3 weeks or 3 months,” she said. In any case, she added, “we'll look at providing library services in alternate ways. The bookmobile will come and stop here, and we will keep the book-drops here.”
Rist added the hope that much of the non-construction aspects of Phase 2 can be aided by a fund carryover from Phase 1, which came in $200,000 under its $450,000 budget.
Phase 1, completed last year, involved structural stabilization, as well as brickwork, windows, doors and steps. Phase 3, the final part of the project, will improve outside landscaping and the parking lot.
The total project cost is currently estimated at $1.4 million.
Phase 1 was also aided by a grant from the State Historical Fund, which is administered through the non-profit Colorado Historical Society.
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