PWPL board selects construction company for estimated $4.2M project

Closner Construction of Marquette will begin the estimated $4.2 million renovation project of the Peter White Public Library, pictured, in May. The restoration project will include major repairs of the 1904 facade, which has a sizeable crack in the Southwest corner. (Journal photo by Jaymie Depew)

MARQUETTE — The Peter White Public Library Board of Trustees recently hired Closner Construction of Marquette to complete the library’s estimated $4.2 million renovation project slated to begin in May.

The building restoration project will include major repairs of the 1904 facade, roof repairs, as well as resealing all the building’s windows, heating and cooling equipment updates, safety, technology and furnishing updates, space reorganization and additional space will be created for services and programs, and more.

“We had bids submitted from six companies, compared them, and took in consideration the cost and proximity and reputation,” said Library Director Andrea Ingmire, adding that the board used a similar process as the city does when it comes to seeking bids.

The project will take approximately 10 months to a year to complete, with construction beginning in the lowest level of the library. As the lower level is being worked on, the Marquette Arts and Cultural Center will be located on the main level, the community room will be closed from May to November, and youth services will be moved to the Westwood Mall in Marquette Township. During the move to the mall, youth programs will be suspended but will continue on May 7.

Ingmire said that while some programs will be impacted by the construction project, the library will remain open.

“Programs will continue but will certainly be impacted as changes throughout the building are made because parts of the library will be closed off,” she said. “There will always be a baseline of services open. We don’t plan to close unless there’s some unforeseen issues.”

According to Ingmire, a crack on the facade is the biggest concern with the renovation project since a part of the foundation on the old building will have to be replaced as well as some of the stones. There are also issues with how the roof lines up and down the front of the building since there’s a “differential settlement” between two foundation types, Ingmire said.

According to the library’s website, library staff noticed that there was a sizable crack in the Southwest corner of the library’s facade during the treacherous winter of 2013-14. In November 2014 Pam Christensen, former library director, requested a damage assessment to be conducted by Integrated Designs Inc.

The investigation revealed that differential settlement had caused the façade to crack and pull away from the structure. The general consensus is that the building experienced differential settlement over time, the website states.

After Ingmire became library director in June 2016, the library’s board reviewed all funding options for the repairs and started thinking of a plan of action.

“The crack is the part of the project that’s a wild card,” Ingmire said. “We just don’t know what will happen until we get there and start working on it.”

In August, Marquette voters supported a millage pertaining to the library’s improvement project with an overwhelming 80 percent approval.

Ingmire said she’s currently working on rendering floor plans. However, all of the library’s information regarding the project is listed on its website. The website will be updated as changes occur as well as once or twice a week, Ingmire said.

“As construction carries on, every time there’s a change, we’ll put an ‘Insider update’ online,” Ingmire said. “It’s the best way to keep updated on what’s closed or what’s moved.”

For more details regarding the renovation project and/or how to sign up for updates, visit pwpl.info.