By LeAnn R. Ralph
ELK MOUND — Elk Mound has now officially received the check for $130,000 from the Otto Bremer Foundation for the village’s new library and community center that will be located in the old Laundromat building.
Representatives for Bremer presented the check to town officials on September 18.
The Elk Mound Community Center Committee held a construction kick-off on August 12, and the new library is expected to be open in December.
“We’re still working on (demolition). We’ve knocked out the cement block walls, so it’s pretty open in there now,” said Andy Peterson, village president and a member of the library and community center committee.
“We’ve been working pretty hard at it,” he said.
All of the work to date has been done by volunteers to remove the interior walls and take out the dropped ceiling.
“The dropped ceiling was actually plaster. Before that, we took out the cement block walls. It took six of us about 45 minutes to sweep up the mess from the ceiling,” Peterson said.
“One of the guys brought his skid steer (to get the walls out), but it was still labor intensive because we loaded the bucket by hand and then we had it dump it on a trailer so they could haul it off,” he said.
“It was a really hot day when we took the walls out, so it was quite a job — hot and sweaty and dirty by the time we were finished,” Peterson said.
Removing the concrete from the interior is all but finished now.
“The dropped ceiling was really a job. It was all steel and plaster. That probably took 3,000 or 4,000 pounds off the weight of the building to get that ceiling out of there,” Peterson said.
The remodeled building also will have a dropped ceiling, but it will be a lightweight tile dropped ceiling, he noted.
Remodeling the inside of the building will not be a particularly complicated project, “so that’s why we are shooting for December for the library to open,” Peterson said.
Once the new roof is on the building, the rest of the project should go fairly quickly, he said.
“With a new roof, the building will look 100 percent better,” Peterson said.
A structural engineer has looked at the building several times, and it is structurally sound, he said.
Paul Swartos, senior business banker with Bremer Bank, said the best part of Bremer giving money for the project is that the library is something the community wants and needs.
“This is something that will be used. It is something the community has needed,” he said.
During visioning sessions and community forums for developing Elk Mound’s Smart Growth comprehensive plan more than ten years ago, community members identified a library and a community center as a need for the village.
Over the years, the Elk Mound Village Board has kept it in mind that community members said they wanted a library and a community center.
The Elk Mound library currently operating out of the village hall is a satellite facility of the Menomonie Public Library.
The total project cost for remodeling the Laundromat building for a library and community center is $195,000.
The library and community center committee has raised $150,000 so far.
The new 1,200-square-foot library in the old Laundromat building will feature a section of children’s materials, a small lounge and reading area, a small circulating collection of books as well as magazines and newspapers.
The library and community center committee includes Pat Hahn, Terry Stamm, Kathy Peterson, Katie Johnson, Dean Brockmeier, Deann Radtke, and Julie Conlin.
The building project budget includes $13,500 for a new roof; $6,500 to replace the windows; $10,000 to replace the wiring; $20,000 to replace the plumbing and add two restrooms; $25,000 to insulate, Sheetrock, finish and paint the interior walls; $10,000 each for a new ceiling and to install new lights; $20,000 for new flooring; $15,000 each for HVAC and library equipment and furnishings.