BALLINGER- With major repairs to the roof and upper structure the Carnegie Library is going through its first serious remodeling in 25 years. After three years inactive the Mary Sykes Auditorium is expected to be re-opened by February of 2012.
The repairs include not only the roof, damaged by a downburst on August 12, 2009, but also the front of the building. A local construction company is currently stripping the columns and getting them ready for repair and paint. All the wood decorations in the outside of the building will also be retouched.
The main repair is happening in the roof structure. After evaluating several options and plans, the Carnegie Library Board of Directors decided to repair three broken trusses by gluing and bolting additional boards on each side of the damaged trusses.
The engineering work for the trusses was made by Sparks Engineering of Austin, Texas. The repairs were made without removing any material or making any hole in the roof of the building.
Once completed this repair will allow to take away the jacks and scaffolding installed in the second floor of the building to support the roof. The structure is currently in the second story of the building, on the floor of the Mary Sykes Auditorium.
The Board of Directors estimates that for rental losses the Library has lost nearly $19,000 in revenue over the past three years. Before the roof damage the Mary Sykes Auditorium used to be a community favorite to hold weddings, wedding showers, business meetings, and all kind of receptions.
The roof was jacked back in place and will be held by a structure made of brackets and rods. Even though the total cost of the repairs has not been disclosed just for the brackets the Carnegie Library will be paying nearly $11,000.
"Once this job is done we will be able to open the second story to the public and the auditorium will be open for rental," said Board member Max Pratt. Pratt and Lawrence Leonard were appointed to the roof repair committee by the Board of Directors.
Repairs are being made under supervision of Chauncey Mansell, a volunteer who did the original 1986 bicentennial restoration to the same building. The Bicentennial restoration started in 1976 and was finished 10 years after. Mansell is now volunteering his time and works very closely with Ernest Cavazos, of Cavazos Construction, a local firm than has been very helpful in the repair project.
"Besides the trusses they are doing the job on the columns, the columns need some repair and the bases are going to be rebuilt. Working with a local firm has been real good, it's good for he community because they have the feeling for this building and they want to get the job done right," said Pratt.