SHOREWOOD – If you push the center of the two-story window frame at the back of the Shorewood-Troy Library with a little force, it bends like cardboard seams.
Those windowpanes are the only thing separating the inside to the forested outdoors north of the library.
“That side of the building is in serious need of repair,” Director Jennie Mills said. The windowpanes cover both floors of the library.
The library has planned to close Monday through Wednesday to allow for the project.
The closure is for the heaviest part of the demolition. But the full project will take about six weeks. Some bookshelves have been moved in anticipation of the two-story project.
In October, Tria Architecture and KGZ Consulting Engineers surveyed the library and discovered that the frame of the windowed wall was undersized and in need of immediate repair.
The consultants’ report revealed that the two-story glazing system of windows bends and could buckle in weather events with high winds, creating a potential safety hazard.
In one of the largest construction projects in recent memory, the windows will be demolished and reinforced to eliminate any safety hazards.
“This window has been here since the library opened to the public in 1985,” Mills said. “The supports are just not strong enough and we can’t afford to put in a new window. So we’re adding masonry and reinforcing the windows with a thicker frame.”
The far left and right windowpanes will be drywalled. But the center and top arch will remain to provide symmetry with the windows in front of the building, Mills said.
The cost of the project is about $80,000, she said.
The library’s Building Committee met Tuesday night to discuss the closure.
Trustees Phillip Besler, Thomas Novinski and Robert Stahl voted to authorize the library closure, staff pay and the hiring of a company for overnight security during the project.
“This is going to be tough, but we have to do it,” said Besler, the board president.
Library staff will be paid according to standard emergency closing procedures. Security of the library will be handled by Aurora-based Andy Frain Services at a cost of $2,083.04.
Novinski, the board vice president, asked if the weather may have a factor to the work being done.
“My worst fear is they get the whole wall out and it starts raining,” he said.
Mills said rain may delay construction and the library may open early or late on short notice depending on several construction-related issues.
“It’s good that this is a slow time for us because summer reading is over and kids are getting ready for school,” Mills said.