Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Fourth Floor Reopened Ahead of Schedule

The 4th floor of the library has been reopened earlier than planned. All public areas of the floor and its collections are now accessible again. The 4th floor houses the Latin American Library, the Music & Media Center, and general books stacks with call numbers A – DA.

The floor was closed on Nov. 10 as part of a project that is removing and replacing the ceilings in the library’s existing elevator lobbies. The ceilings to be removed were made with a material containing a low level of asbestos and their removal requires special containment areas to be set up to enclose the lobbies and procedures for monitoring. On the 4th floor the containment area blocked emergency egress paths and this necessitated the temporary closure, which was originally scheduled from Nov. 10 through Nov. 28. The abatement contractor was able to accomplish its work about a week faster than expected. Most of the work in the lobby during the first week of the floor closure consisted of initial reconnaissance and prep work. The actual removal of the ceiling did not begin until Nov. 18, which means the ceiling removal itself was accomplished in about 4 days. The contractor’s ability to handle the abatement work quickly with few complications should bode well as the work progresses to the lower floors.

Next on the ceiling removal schedule is the basement elevator lobby and an abatement crew will move to that area today. Most of the basement lobby is hidden from public view.  A section of ceiling in the basement elevator lobby extends into the library's staff lounge so it will be closed from today until early next week. Also off-limits for the same period will be the basement elevator lobby itself.

The student lounge at the bottom of the main entrance stairs will be unaffected by the basement lobby ceiling removal, although the stairs will be closed for one day, on Dec. 1, to build some scaffolding overhead that will be needed for the 1st floor ceiling removal planned during the intersession.

Meanwhile, the subcontractor installing the fire suppression (sprinkler) system has completed its work in the library admin office, clearing the way for admin personnel to begin to return their offices. Crews had left the previous Phase 2 zone on the 2nd floor early in order to address the area including the admin office on schedule. They return to the Phase 2 zone yesterday. By agreement they now plan to remove plastic covering the books stacks as they progress through the zone, rather than all at once after finishing their work in the area.

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