What is happening | Robesonian
LUMBERTON – Customers at the Robeson County Public Library’s Lumberton site will see activities not directly related to reading, learning and enjoyment over the next six months.
The activity will consist of much-needed repairs to the exterior of the John P. Stedman Building, located at 101 N. Chestnut St. Work began this week to replace the current exterior panel system, which is the original of the open building. in 1969.
According to Bob Fisher, retired director of RCPL for nearly 30 years, the need to replace the panel system was first addressed in the early 1990s, when planning for the renovation of the main library building was In progress.
“When the renovation began in 2000, some changes in the framing of the panel were noticed and brought to the attention of a contractor,” said Katie Fountain, current director of RCPL. “At that time, the contractor said the panel system was stable and had not been replaced due to the high cost it would add to the project.”
But over the years, and after two major hurricanes – Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Florence two years later – the problem with the signs has been exacerbated. The panels now appear to be “warped or fallen” and the framing has become “more warped” in some areas, Fountain said.
“Due to these changes, we found minor leaks along some walls and ceiling tiles inside the building,” said the manager.
The most pronounced area of damage is the paint in a corner of the computer lab.
“Fortunately, the leaks did not compromise our collections or our library equipment,” said Fountain. “Repairs to interior walls and paint will be scheduled after the new panel system is installed, which will solve the problem of leaks.”
Discussions about replacing the signs continued over the years and the town of Lumberton began allocating funds to the library to save for major repairs. The governments of the city and county of Robeson are jointly supporting the maintenance and repairs to the main library buildings, and the two entities have approved the remaining funding required for the project, which has totaled $ 363,800.
“We are very grateful that the Town of Lumberton and the County of Robeson have approved the remaining funding required for the project this fiscal year,” said Fountain.
The library building, which measures approximately 18,000 square feet, was designed by Elizabeth B. Lee, AIA, architect. TA Nye & Sons was the general contractor.
Over the past decade, a few roofing projects have been undertaken, but the last major library renovation was completed around 20 years ago when the library’s design was significantly altered.
“During this renovation project, the new children’s library was created, which was named in honor of Horace E. Stacy Jr., who dedicated his time to the renovation,” said Fountain.
The old Lumberton Trading Company building, which had been donated years earlier to the Friends of the Library by Beverly and Leroy Townsend, has become Osterneck’s new auditorium. The current Osterneck Auditorium and Exploration Station are housed in the Townsend Building, in honor of Beverly and Leroy Townsend.
“Other upgrades during this renovation included improved landscaping, new sidewalk, new carpet and paint, additional doors and other interior upgrades,” said Fountain. “From what I have read and heard about this renovation, it was a huge undertaking for the library and it was well supported by the community.
This is what is happening this time around.
“A project of this magnitude only comes to fruition when the people involved are dedicated to the vision and persevere through setbacks and challenges,” said Fountain. “As the current director of the library, I feel honored to participate in the realization of this project. There have been so many people involved to get us to this point.
Fountain thanked the current Lumberton Town Council and Administration, the Robeson County Commissioners and Administration, as well as past and present library trustees and trustees for the work they have done on this project.
“This renovation, in addition to keeping our building safe for the community to enjoy, will help beautify and revitalize downtown Lumberton,” said Fountain.
The library administrators obtained architectural services from the Becker Morgan group for the duration of the project. Metcon, Inc. is the general contractor for the panel renovations. Macsons is their subcontractor who takes care of the demolition of the old panel system, which is being dismantled and disposed of properly.
The library is always open to customers, but access to certain areas will sometimes be limited.
“We estimate that the project will be completed by mid-October,” said Fountain.