Overdue Library news

Overdue Library news

Below are the monthly updates concerning the build progress of the North Village Library. John Gillam had forgotten to send these to me, but was nice enough to send me the last few months of updates. The roof is going on this week and we are still on track for a Jan 2009 grand opening. Here is the update from December. The June through November updates are also available when you click the continue link below.

The construction of the new North Village Branch Library is proceeding at a pace that the surrounding neighborhoods find very exciting, judging from the number of approving emails and telephone calls the Library Department has received on that subject of late. In large part, their excitement doubtlessly stems from observing the sizeable shipment of structural steel being delivered to the site on December 7, 2007, followed closely by the erection of the structural skeleton of the building by a small army of workers employing cranes and other heavy equipment. The roof installation expected immediately after the first of the year will probably cause a similar buzz in the community, but other benchmarks denoting progress include the contractor’s completion of the underground biofiltration pond and the parking lot curb layout. Equally promising for the project management team has been the successful resolutions coordinated with Austin Energy for the path of electrical service for the building and with the concrete subcontractor for the creation of the architectural columns so prominent in the facility’s design. At this time, Library Department officials are not aware of any reasons why the new North Village Branch Library cannot be made completely ready to open to the public, as previously scheduled, on Saturday, January 24, 2009.

After being rained out on sixteen of the last thirty days, site work construction processes have resumed at the North Village Branch Library site with the recent onset of drier weather. It is noteworthy that the general contractor, Jamail & Smith Construction Company, used the interim time well while the site was too wet for work to proceed, coordinating upcoming building issues ranging from structural to mechanical with the project architects and engineers. Jamail & Smith has likewise worked diligently during this period of weather-imposed delays to augment their work force with the full complement of construction trades required by the scope of the project, and in having these additional subcontractors officially approved by the Department of Small and Minority Business Resources for use on the project. Despite the number of rain delays, the established Grand Opening date of January 24, 2009 for the new North Village Branch Library remains eminently doable in the opinion of both the design team and the general contractor at this time.

Excepting for a few days recently of heavy rains as well as the “mud days” which followed, construction of the new North Village Branch Library is moving forward at a very good clip. The foundation slab has been successfully poured in its entirety and the ICF wall construction has subsequently been initiated. This innovative wall form chosen specifically for the North Village Branch Library is a modular, stay-in-place, concrete form which is dry-stacked and then filled with concrete and reinforcing steel. While the ICF wall form, itself, does not contribute to the structural capacity of the exterior wall system – the load carrying capacity being provided entirely by the reinforced concrete placed within the wall form – the ICF wall form does provide an impressive combination of thermal, acoustical, fire-resistant and finishing properties for the facility. Other site development items either completed or in progress include: water and sewer taps, installation of storm water piping and vaults, and rain tank construction. The construction of the rain tank has been complicated by ground water seepage, but the civil engineer has devised a design modification for the tank which has allowed that portion of the site work to proceed. Possibly the most critical concern at the moment with this project is successfully coordinating with Austin Energy to remove the existing street lights so that the new lights and the associated underground electrical supply conduits may be installed. During recent weekly construction progress meetings, representatives from the Department of Small and Minority Business Resources have explored efforts to increase minority participation on the project, the ICF installer and the steel erector conferred over building details at length with the structural engineer, and commissioning was addressed so that the general contractor and sub-contractors would be fully aware that all building systems installed at the site will be functionally tested to insure that they are capable of being operated and maintained to perform in conformity with the Library’s design intent. The Grand Opening of the new North Village Branch Library remains scheduled for Saturday, January 24, 2009, upon completion of construction and all related finish-out activities.

As anyone who has recently driven by the 2505 Steck Avenue location will attest, the new North Village Branch Library site is a veritable hotbed of ongoing construction activities these days. Perhaps the most exciting event for the people immediately involved in the project was the ICF wall pour carried out on Monday, October 15, 2007. This process requires that cement be pumped to the top of the walls in order to fill in the ICF wall forms, and despite two blowouts, quickly patched with plywood, in the facility’s mechanical yard wall, the pour of the ICF walls was successfully completed by the end of the day. Other construction trades much in evidence at the site include electricians trenching and installing the below-grade conduit for the parking lot lighting, heavy equipment operators excavating the rain tank sedimentation chamber, and form builders preparing for the installation of new streetlights and driveway entrances. At this time, the progress being made along all the critical paths of construction indicate that the Library Department should be well able to conduct the Grand Opening for the new North Village Branch Library on Saturday, January 24, 2009, as per the long established schedule for this occasion.

The construction of a new facility at 2505 Steck Avenue to house the North Village Branch Library continues very much on track, within budget, and in compliance with the project schedule at the moment. The ICF walls are progressing ever upwards, with most tall walls presently built to about twenty courses above slab, with the sloped walls built higher still. The next concrete pour for the ICF wall forms is anticipated perhaps as early as Tuesday, November 19, 2007. Ongoing site grading activities at this time include the placement of fill materials at the west end of the property and at the driveway encompassing the building. Site electric work has slowed momentarily due to the need to coordinate closely with Austin Energy on the installation of the high voltage conduit for main electrical service to the building under a storm drain. However, inspections are going well as is the submittal process, and the first load of structural steel is expected to be delivered to the site just before Thanksgiving. Erection of the structural steel will begin during the first week of December, and a pre-construction conference for the architectural concrete columns will be scheduled at that time. All in all, this project is progressing in a promising manner which should allow for the new North Village Branch Library to throw its doors open to the community on Saturday, January 24, 2009, as per the long established schedule for this event.

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