Contractors on Friday began installing the first of seven concrete trusses for the $3.5 million addition to the main branch of the Schenectady County Public Library on Clinton Street.
The trusses are 34 feet tall and weigh 38,000 pounds each. The precast arched concrete columns will provide the structural support along the east side of the new addition and are a major architectural feature of the project. Their installation is the first above-ground work since the project began in May.
Schenectady County Legislator Gary Hughes, D-Schenectady, chairman of the Library and Education Committee, said construction is on schedule and is expected to be completed in March or April.
“The intent is to have the main structure framed out and winterized so work can continue inside,” Hughes said.
The 6,700-square-foot, two-story structure is under construction in the parking lot adjacent to the library. Construction will involve no interruption of services at the main branch.
All of the trusses should be installed by the end of next week, and then work will begin on the placement of glazing and energy-efficient windows between them.
The trusses are designed to match the shade of the concrete that runs around the top edge of the existing library building.
A temporary wall has been constructed inside the library along the east wall. When the time is right, a hole will be knocked through the wall and the two buildings connected via an atrium.
“It is nice to see it coming together,” Hughes said.
Steve Fitz, chairman of the library Board of Trustees’ Building Committee, said the project remains within budget. “As far as the budget goes, everybody seems happy,” he said.
The addition will house the children’s library, replacing a 3,000-square-foot children’s section in the main building. The vacated section will be converted into space housing books and computers available to the public.
Local architectural firm Re4orm Architecture designed the contemporary structure. The front will feature a two-story wall of clear glass. One side will be opaque glass supported by pre-cast concrete buttresses. A two-story “monolith,” using bricks taken from the original library when the structures are connected, will front the structure.
The library trustees and the Friends of the Schenectady County Library are contributing $2.5 million and $320,000, respectively, toward the cost. The county is contributing $1.5 million toward the project. This is in addition to the more than $2.2 million it has spent to upgrade the central library’s original operating systems. The main branch was built in the mid-1960s.