Chesterton Tribune

Library moves to rebuild Service Center restrooms

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What began as a planned remodel of the Library Service Center main restrooms now will be a complete renovation.

The Westchester Public Library Board agreed Thursday to have architect Scott Virtue prepare plans and specifications for the work. A goal is to make the restrooms, built in 1977, compliant with current law regarding handicapped accessibility.

The board reviewed a preliminary plan submitted by Virtue that would reconfigure the menís restroom to accomodate wheelchairs; the womenís restroom is adequate in size to make the needed improvements including wider doors.

WPL director Phil Baugher said upgraded fixtures to conserve water are planned. No cost for the project has been determined but itís hoped to receive proposals and award the work in May.

The restrooms serve the LSC public meeting rooms on the main floor. Restrooms on the LSC lower level used by WPL employees eventually would have to be redone because there isnít an elevator to reach the renovated restrooms above.

The fact there is an elevator at the nearby Thomas Library could save WPL money when the circa-1975 restrooms there are renovated in the future. Baugher said the small ground-floor restrooms, which are not handicapped accessible, possibly could be expanded by taking space from a rear hallway to the north.

No such expansion area exists for the second-floor Thomas restrooms, however, having one compliant restroom in the building served by an elevator should be acceptable, said Baugher.

In other business, on a 6-1 vote with Library Board member Drew Rhed dissenting Shaw Painting was chosen to paint the Thomas exterior aluminum canopy and trim for $12,685. Shamrock Painting also submitted a quote for $5,400. While both would wash and paint the surfaces, Shaw also would apply two coats and recaulk windows if needed.

Rhed later said his concern was that the proposals werenít comparable.

The board unanimously accepted the proposal of B&G Sealcoating at $7,878.50 to patch, reseal and stripe all WPL parking lots. Miller Third-Generation Sealcoating would do the work for $11,500. Board member Vern Odom suggested possibly reconfiguring the Thomas lot west of the building when the striping is done.

It was announced tickets still are available for the May 1 Westchester Township History Museum fundraiser; WPL operates the museum at the Brown Mansion. Performances are planned at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Actors will portray Brown family members and others to tell about community life here in 1889. Tickets are $15 each and must be purchased at the museum before May 1. Refreshments are included.

Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. the Friends of the Library public book sale takes place at Thomas Library. Thousands of books are offered. Money raised is donated to the WPL.

Baugher circulated a copy of WPLís new electronic newsletter, The Weekly Word. It is being sent as a link to patrons with emails on file who wish to see the document. Those who do not may unsubscribe. The newsletter also lists upcoming programs and other WPL sites and information.

In March, WPL saw a slight increase in circulation, a surprise, said Baugher, because Calumet Road is torn up in downtown Chesterton near Thomas. Year-to-date circulation is down 2 percent, but proving popular is the Overdrive service that permits patrons to download audio/e-books. So far 794 such items have been downloaded this year.

For those who like to read the old-fashioned way, Baugher noted Thomas and Hageman libraries maintain subscriptions to 263 magazines for children, young adults and adults. Issues previous to the current magazine may be checked out.

The magazines cover animals/pets, arts/music, beauty/fashion, business/finance, computers, cooking/cuisine, entertainment, garden/farming, general interest, health/fitness, history/science, hobbies/crafts, home/family, how-to, news/commentary, regional, sports/outdoors, travel/adventure and automotive/aviation.

The board voted to hire Rose Halpin as a technical services clerk. Baugher said there were 43 applications for the position.



Posted 4/15/2011