Fairhaven library to reopen Jan. 5

The Bellingham Business Journal

Renovation of the Fairhaven branch of the Bellingham Public Library has been completed, and the library will reopen on Tuesday, Jan. 5. The Friends of the Library are planning a grand re-opening celebration on Saturday, Jan. 9, at 2 p.m., with tours and refreshments to celebrate the library’s 105th birthday. The public is invited to attend.

“We’re thrilled with the results of the repair project,” said Library Director Pamela Kiesner. “Any time you start working on an older building there are bound to be surprises, but fortunately we were able to address issues as they came up, and wound up with a better end product.”

Construction began June 1, with Dawson Construction as the general contractor and RMC Architects as the local representative for Fletcher, Farr, Ayotte of Portland. George Banning of CCM Services served as construction manager for the city.

“The entire team worked together very well,” said Assistant Director Christine Perkins, who represented the library on the project team. “Ben Thompson, Dawson’s superintendent on the project, has a lot of experience renovating historic buildings, so we felt confident that he would know how to approach any existing conditions that were uncovered.”

The project was intended to address 100 years of water infiltration that had plagued the building. Crews removed damaged stucco from the building’s exterior, rebuilt rotten windows and re-glazed the original glass, installed comprehensive flashing systems, and applied new stucco to the building.   New storm windows, gutters and downspouts were also installed.

The Fireplace Room on the lower level received a major structural lift when rusted metal poles were replaced with a new beam system. Finally, the grounds around the library were re-graded to direct water away from the building, and landscaping was rearranged to provide better air circulation at the sandstone foundation. Also, a large new book return receptacle was  installed on 12th Street to make it more convenient to return library materials when the building is closed.

Effective Jan. 1, 2010, the Fairhaven Branch will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m. and closed Sunday and Monday.

Changes to hours at the Fairhaven and Barkley branches follow previous cuts to hours at the central library, which went from being open four nights a week to two. Sunday hours at the central library have also been eliminated.

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