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Existing conditions

July 24, 2010

I’ve learned a new vocabulary with this building project.  The phrase “existing conditions” is used quite often.  It generally means something negative.  In my life before the building project, “existing conditions” might have been a way to describe the fact that it was sunny today.  In my life since the building project, it means they found rotted wood due to failed EIFS (synthetic stucco system).  Or charred wood behind the walls from the fire in 1945.  

The library was damaged by fire on January 22, 1945. The fire started in the kitchen and damaged some 23,000 volumes by smoke and 501 books which had been in the kitchen were destroyed. Six truckloads of debris were removed. The library was temporarily closed and the circulation library was moved to the former wartime Ration Office in the Municipal Building. The library remained closed until June 16, 1945. During this time, the kitchen and a closet were combined into a kitchen-storeroom.

Today, after the removal of the walls, you can still see the evidence via charred wood; it even smells faintly of smoke. 

Here is a photo of the wood rot from the failed EIFS used in 1983.  Joe Daniels Construction Company has finished replacing and rectifying the problem areas.  We are very glad to have discovered this “existing condition” even though it was unexpected.  It would be far worse to have a continued degradation of the structural integrity of your building. 

Even though we’ve found any number of “existing conditions” , we are still on time and on budget.   Unexpected does not mean unplanned for.   We were fully anticipating that we would have some surprises to discover and our project budget reflects that.  This is an old building with a rich past;  that makes for a complicated project.

Kudos to Uihlein-Wilson Architects for their design, planning and project oversight as well as Joe Daniels Construction Company for their responses to “existing conditions” and their demonstrated commitment to quality construction.  Together they are working hard to ensure that our community will have a structurally sound and utterly beautiful library.

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