Slater Library Marks Completion of Renovations – Janice Steinhagen, Courant Community
This article was published on: 08/24/17 12:34 AM by Mike Minarsky
Board members and staff of Slater Library in Jewett City celebrated the completion of a $125,000 renovation project that was a long time coming with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the library Aug. 23. The project included replacing the 1884 structure’s seven air conditioning units and some of its windows, as well as shoring up its chimney. “We worked on the infrastructure that was most needed,” said board member John Haskell, who oversaw the project over the past three years. Work on securing the state library grant for the project actually began in 2012 and involved submitting a 700-page proposal package, he said. The chimney was reinforced with a stainless steel liner to keep the exhaust away from the original stone, said Haskell. The chimney was also repointed and a now-unused incinerator in the boiler room was removed. The repairs were long overdue, said Slater Library board of trustees vice-chairman Jan Demicco. “Almost all the air conditioners were dead. Last summer we limped along with two out of the seven,” she said. Haskell said that the old air conditioning units were replaced by a heat-exchange system. “We’ll be able to use them basically three seasons out of the year to heat and to cool the building,” he said. The board had initially hoped to replace the library’s 10 main windows, which have structural issues. But, said Demicco, the building’s National Register of Historic Places status required that the windows be repaired rather than replaced – a complicated project given the stained-glass detail. Doing so would have used up most of the grant money, especially since the state has strict regulations that require workers on the project be paid the prevailing wage, said Demicco. “We were just lucky to be able to get done what we did,” she said. Instead, the smaller basement-level windows were replaced. Board members hope to apply for private grants that could cover the window project in the future. Such grants offer more flexibility and the projects would be less costly, said Demicco. Both Haskell and Demicco credited former selectman and State Rep. Steve Mikutel for pursuing the legislation that secured the state funds. Haskell said that tax collector Leona Sharkey also worked closely to help clinch the grant, and that architect and fire marshal Fred Marzec volunteered to be the architect of record to sign off on the project.
Story by Janice Steinhagen
Photo Credit: Phil Michel