Friday, October 16, 2009
Gleason Library restoration on track
Repair work on the historic portion of the Gleason Library is on time and within the original budget, according to a review held during an October 8 tour of the construction site led by architects from Lerner | Ladds + Bartels and the Consigli Construction company. Attending were members of the Gleason Library Building Restoration Implementation Committee (BRIC), the Library Trustees and Library Director Angela Mollet.
At the May 2009 Town Meeting voters approved $775,000 in Community Preservation Act funds to repair water damage to the building exterior, including the foundation, brick façade, windows and slate roof.
Though an increase in project costs could be experienced if more water damage is uncovered during the restoration, the Trustees and BRIC members did not hear of any major concerns. The library is festooned with a five-story scaffolding and wrapped in security fencing. All visitors to the construction site were asked to wear hard hats. Mollet was happy to learn the hats could be kept and used for the “Bob the Builder” reading time on the first Thursday in November.
Good news about bricks
Much of the tour time was spent picking the right mortar color. The old mortar is light in color and grainy with bits of mica, giving it a little sparkle. The replacement mortar (called “444 red, 2 pink”) is a very close match. The Trustees and BRIC members learned that the bricks are in better shape than expected, especially the fancy “L” shaped bricks at the second floor level. Library Trustee Priscilla Stevens climbed up the scaffolding with the construction team to have a close look at the bricks. “They are going over the areas, and the brick is holding really well,” said Stevens. The construction team will still need to replace some bricks damaged by age and water, and will drive steel supports into the large granite decorative pieces for extra support. “They are making sure all the decorative pieces are properly secured,” added Stevens.
Problem with slate
Consigli Construction reported they have rejected the first batch of roof slate, calling it “lower than the standards.” A new batch has been ordered, but there was no indication the change in type of slate would impact the schedule. They discovered some original roof slates were shorter than expected, explained Stevens, which would explain some of the water leakage into the attic. Though the goal is to reuse as many of the original slates as possible, it will be necessary to replace the shorter slates.
“They are finding things that need to be corrected, but also are confirming the architect’s original assessment that the building is holding up well,” said Stevens. ∆
© 2009 The