Late last week Sedalia Public Library Director Pam Hunter received more distressing news from the structural engineer concerning the repairs on the Carnegie Library.
A new area of the historic building is beginning to pull away. The problem area is the inside front staircase.
“The staircase on the inside is pulling away from the wall, so that means there is movement in the front,” Hunter said of the new damage.
This news came after the library had been shut down for repairs on the southwest corner of the building due to settling issues brought on by the drought Missouri has been experiencing.
The library sits on a bed of clay that has shrunk as the drought continues through the summer months. This has caused settling in unexpected places under the building.
Hunter was asked about the scope of the new repairs.
“They are going to have to take up the porch. The columns may have to be taken out. It might be to narrow of an area to work, so they would have to take them down,” Hunter said.
The costs of the repairs, including the new issues, will run in the neighborhood of $750,000.
“That includes everything to date,” Hunter said.
According to the structural engineer, the library will need to be closed at a minimum of six months. It could take as long as a year before they could reopen.
Hunter explained that the she and the board are looking for an alternative location to house a section of the library for public use during the downtime.
“We have has several suggestions, and we are looking into those.
“We had a lot of built-in shelving so that limits us on the amount we could take,” Hunter explained.
Once the library and staff get settled into a temporary location, thoughts will turn to fund-raising to help with the repair costs to the building.
On a positive note, the Sedalia Public Library was approved for a $5,000 grant to go towards the placement of temporary bracing on the southwest corner of the building. This must be in place before permanent repairs can be started.
The $5,000 grant comes from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The library was fenced off late last week and remains off limits to patrons for obvious safety reasons.
The temporary home for some of the library’s contents is reportedly going to be the old McLaughlin Brothers Building in the 500 block of South Ohio, which was recently donated to SFCC for a downtown education center, and which will require remodeling. Photos by Randy Kirby, Sedalia News Journal.