Renovation plans change for Dubuque library - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Renovation plans change for Dubuque library

Dubuque (KWWL) -- A $6.8 million renovation project at Dubuque's Carnegie Stout Public Library is uncovering some suprises and some more work. Not only that, it's a race against the clock to get projects done before funding no longer there.

"Where we're standing now is in the third floor of the historic part of the library, the original library, which was built in 1902," Library Director Susan Henricks said standing near the rotunda.

In renovating, one of the main goals is making the more than 100-year-old library look like it used to. Of course when peeling back layers on a century old building, surprises pop up, like finding an old photo.

"On the back of it, hooked to the back of that picture was a small picture of the rotunda, and we said, oh my gosh! What is that? And sure enough, there it was, with all of it's fine detailed stencling. Of course, no one remembers seeing it. It was original to this building," Henricks said.

Original renovation plans had a plain-looking design, but in a special meeting Wednesday, the library board voted to use private donations to fund the detailed, colorful re-painting.

Another surprise was in the old city council meeting room.

"All of the natural wood in the library's oak, and it happens to be pine in that room, and won't take a stain," Henricks said.

The board has voted to keep the pine and paint it, as buying oak would be too expensive, and not original.

"While we recognize that it wasn't built for the 21st century, and the technology we have, we're trying to adapt that, and celebrate the original beauty of this original building," Henricks said.

The project to make the old library new again should be finished by spring of 2010.

The biggest chunk of funding is through an "Iowa Great Places" grant, but that money has to be used by the end of June. The third floor with the rotunda and meeting room has to be finished before they can move onto that grant project.

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

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