(Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 8:30 PM
JENNINGS — Concerns over asbestos and foundation damage caused by water and termites has delayed the start of the second phase of a nearly $150,000 renovation project for the Jeff Davis Parish Library.
The project was expected to be underway this fall, but has been delayed until early 2014 Director Linda LeBert-Corbello said Wednesday.
"It's just a kink in the plans," she said. "We had planned to be starting on phase two by now, but the board knows it is very important to take care of the foundation issues and asbestos so that we can move forward on the next phase."
The library has temporary closed the front entrance as a safety precaution until crews can shore up the foundation and repair water and termite damage underneath the structure.
"It's not an imminent danger but the architect suggested it be closed as a precautionary measure," she said. "We hope it is not an inconvenience to our patrons, but it has to be done."
Patrons are asked to use the back entrance on North Cary Avenue.
"It's very disappointing to the employees and the patrons after seeing what was done earlier and the great transformation that was made, they were excited about the next phase," she said. "But the good news is it is a temporary setback."
Repairs to the structure will not jeopardize work already done on the first phase of the project which was completed this summer, LeBert-Corbello said.
Double J Environmental Services of Walker is expected to complete the asbestos removal by next week.
Trahan Construction of Lake Arthur will soon begin repairing the floor joists and installing shoring jacks to secure the foundation.
"Our goal is to take care of this building and keep it for future generations," LeBert-Corbello said. "The library board protects this building because they know it is an important part of the city's history."
The building, which will be 100 years old next year, originally served as a post office.
The second phase of the project will include a new check out desk, new flooring, ceiling repairs, office space for the branch manager and mobile branch manager, new display panels for library books and an adult computer area.