Red Deer’s 56-year-old downtown public library is getting a face lift.
The building’s west and north sides are obscured by scaffolding and will be for most of the summer. The library’s CEO Shelley Ross said the Centennial Building from 1967 is being re-stuccoed and repainted to update the exterior as well as repair some wear and tear.
The scaffolding is needed to hoist work crews up along the building on the City Hall Park side, as the flower beds and underground sprinkler system can’t stand the weight of a lift truck, she noted
Ross believes this is the first time the four-level library has had significant exterior maintenance done since the top floor was added in about 1975.
The highest floor of the library was built cantilevered slightly from the rest of the building, so a “drip line” is required to channel water away from the exterior walls. Ross said an engineering assessment done a couple of years ago showed this line is cracked and needs to be upgraded.
The old stucco on the exterior has lasted through half a century of winter-summers temperature shifts— and is doing very well, all things considered, said Ross. But the plan this summer is to re-stucco the library building, using more up-to-date materials that are even more durable.
The City of Red Deer is also using the opportunity to also do some exterior repairs on the brick former armoury, which is attached to the library and has been turned into the children’s book department. Ross believes some grouting has eroded between bricks and will need to be reapplied.
Both projects will cost a total of $600,000, with 50-50 matching funds contributed from the city and the library through the Community Facility Enhancement Grant.
Ross is still waiting to hear about additional grant funding that would allow for the replacement of the public library’s exterior signage and lighting.
She noted the exterior renovation project is very weather dependent since stuccoing and grouting can’t be done in the rain and cold. But she anticipates work will be completed in September.
Meanwhile, the library’s hours are unaffected.