It is windy, cold, and rainy today, but that’s not a problem for the crew building the new Francis Branch on North Ironwood. They have all the windows in and they’ve installed temporary doors, so on wet or chilly days the crews can work inside protected from the elements. On days when they are indoors, they make progress with the interior walls. The workmen are still on track for a summer 2009 estimated completion date.
Meanwhile outside, the metal roof is nearly finished. On nice days the masons build the stonework. They’re starting around back and will work clockwise around the building. What I heard at a construction progress meeting is that the workmen started on the ‘cold’ side–the northwest side in the wind–while it was still nice out so they can be on the warm side when the weather turns. The utilities will be complete in a few weeks, and crews are a third done installing the ducts. At this point the remaining ducts are stacked about where our check-out machines will be.
A few weeks ago I got to go inside, and it is easy to picture the layout of the new branch. I can see where our meeting rooms will be. I stood in the spot where my office will be–a very nice portion of the concrete floor. Black pipes stick up out of the slab and identify the position of the bathrooms. The building is very tall and the height will allow light to flood into the completed building. In fact, the most frequently heard comment from the public about the new building is ‘hey, that’s really tall.’
Meanwhile, at the old Francis Branch, life goes on. The crews have installed a temporary handrail to help us all on the sidewalk, which is on a bit of an incline, during the winter. Our old building remains enclosed (all the windows are in here, too), and, like the new branch, it is much busier on the inside than it appears from the outside. Come up and see the progress in person, or check out this photographic record of the progress, taken by staff member Sharon.