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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

The Elevator Shaft

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, May 20, 2018

If you have passed the Main Library Project recently, you have noticed a tall masonry structure that has appeared behind the Carnegie building that rises to the height of the roof structure.

 

It stands all by itself in a rectangular form, and if you guessed it to be the elevator shaft; you would be correct.

 

The elevator shaft has to be constructed first, before the steel structure is erected on the foundation to allow the concrete and masonry to be added to the new building.

 

The new elevator will access four (4) different floors with doors on opposite sides of the shaft.

 

Of course, it is the whole point of the project; to make the entire building complex accessible to everyone without climbing interior or exterior stairs.

 

Over the years, I have fielded numerous phone calls and inquiries about the accessibility of the Main Library building from people of all ages.

 

We have tried to serve people with limited accessibility from mailing them the requested information to physically taking materials down to the street level for the individual.

 

And so here we are in 2018, owning the final and last public library building in Ohio that is not accessible.

 

Over the years, various consultants and architects have looked at the Main Library building to recommend how to make the facility accessible ---- and we were met with comments ranging from “tear down the whole thing” to “it is not possible to adjust the building to be accessible.”

 

The final solution was a three-year process of trying this and that; and in the end the design required the removal of later annexes and a lot of measuring to “make it happen.”

 

A new street-level entrance to Slack Street allows access to the building and a public service desk, with the elevator connecting to the lower level and 1st floor of the Carnegie building, and the street level and 2nd floor of the new addition.

 

Interior stairways wrap around the elevator shaft allowing access via short stairways.  The rear wall of the Carnegie building will be exposed again in the new lobby area.

 

The lower level will house staff only, performing work for the whole library system, and finally separating public and staff areas of the building.  The 1st floor of the Carnegie building will remain the same as before except access will be reversed with the front door closed.

 

The Bookmobile garage will be reversed with access to S. 4th Street instead of Slack Street.

 

The children’s library, reference library, and computer areas will move to the 2nd floor of the new addition.

 

The familiar main floor of the building will have little change, except for renovation to the lobby floor which will reveal the original marble floor tile to the public.

 

All of the famous papier-mache figurines will return to the library with some new furniture and the return of some of the older furniture.

 

The steel structure of the new building will start to appear by the end of June, with masonry to follow soon thereafter.

 

The construction schedule remains in-tact for a completion by the end of 2018, although there remains a lot of interior finishing work to be completed.