Structural Flaws Delay Library Job

Sat December 04, 2004 - Midwest Edition

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The restoration of the Central Library in Indianapolis is nearly complete, but work on the six-story addition hinges on an investigation into construction problems with the $102.7 million project.

Construction on the addition was postponed earlier this year after football-size holes were discovered in the supports for the two level underground garage on which the addition will be built. Officials had expected the library to reopen in 2006 until the flaws were found.

While workers began making the first repairs to the supports the week of Nov. 22, Colleen Obergfell, the library’s project manager, told The Indianapolis Star that an investigation is ongoing into the extent of the flaws.

Special focus is being given to columns and beams that will support the addition, Obergfell said. Work on the steel framework for the addition can start after fixes to the 400-car garage are finished.

Once the framework for the addition is encased, completing the library expansion’s interior will take about a year. Moving books from their temporary quarters at the old Indiana State Museum Building will take another couple of months.

The restoration and renovation of the existing building is about 93 percent complete, Obergfell said. That work has included touch-ups to the library’s painted canvas and plaster ceiling, sending 2,000-lbs. chandeliers to New York City for restoration and adding new lighting in some of the bookshelves area.