Morton Township Library expansion moving quickly

Project ahead of schedule, slated to be finished in February

MORTON TWP. — Although construction began only eight weeks ago, the Morton Township Library expansion project is moving along quickly and is ahead of schedule on the remodeling of the existing building.

CONSTRUCTION: The 9,000-square-foot expansion of the Morton Township Library is only eight weeks old but is on schedule. On Monday, steel beams will arrive to place over the walls of the expansion. Soon after, the structure will be enclosed and crews will work through the winter to reopen the library in February. (Pioneer photo/Kyle Leppek)

Officials involved on the expansion project met on Thursday to discuss the progress on the project. The remodeling of the existing 5,000 square-foot building is ahead of schedule even though nearly all of the building will be new, said David Moore, the project superintendent.

“Everything beside the exterior walls has been torn down. We are adding new walls, new ceilings, the roof is coming off, all new shingles and all new siding,” Moore said. “You wont be able to tell the old from the new. The only thing that is staying is the stone work. Everything else will be brand new.”

The 9,000-square-foot addition had been waiting on steel beams to arrive to continue construction, but the beams will start to be erected on Monday, Moore said. The beams were waiting to make sure the steel met the regulations of the USDA Community Facilities loan and grant combination that is funding the expansion, said USDA Area Specialist Paul Bristol.

“Because that is funded from money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, it requires American assembled materials on buildings. So steel is a big component of that,” Bristol said.

CREW: Morton Township Library Director Mary Ann Lenon (left) and Project Manager Steve Jurczuk discuss details in the newly remodeled existing portion of the library. Remodeling of the interior is ahead of schedule. Jurczuk has been working on the project since 2006. (Pioneer photo/Kyle Leppek)

Although the Wolverine Building Group, who is constructing the expansion, is based out of Grand Rapids, Moore is a resident of Morton Township and is excited for the project.

“This is my local library. My kids come here, my wife comes here, and we are excited about it. It is exciting to work on a project in my hometown,” he said. “Everyone just works really well together up here. It is a small-town atmosphere and it’s an honor to be part of a project like this.”

With the beams are erected, the roof can be assembled and the floors will be poured, Moore said. By fall, the building will be enclosed and work will continue through the winter to complete the project by February.

Morton Township Library Director Mary Ann Lenon is elated with the progress.

“It’s unbelievable that what you have worked on for over several years is becoming a project, a real material project. You are getting to see how all of your hard work is coming to fruition,” Lenon said. “It is just wonderful to walk in and see we what we are going to be able to offer the public.”

The new expansion will offer several meeting rooms, a room to teach literacy and an area to download electronic books.

Project Manager Steve Jurczuk, of the planning firm C2AE, has been working on the project since 2006 and is happy with the progress the building has made. The new building also will feature many sustainable technologies, he said.

Once the building is complete, Lenon plans to hold fundraisers to help pay for the USDA loan, which is currently paid by a millage that was passed in August.

To see pictures of the expansions progress, visit the library’s website at mortontownshiplibrary.org, or visit its Facebook page.

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