JILLIAN ASCHLIMAN

JILLIAN ASCHLIMAN

Looks can be deceiving. 

So, don’t let the absence of heavy equipment operating around the fenced-in construction zone at the Frances Banta Waggoner Community Library fool you.

The expansion work has begun.

“It doesn’t look like there’s been a lot of progress because we are waiting for utilities to be moved,” said Jillian Aschliman, library director, adding that the process is under way.

Moving overhead lines and underground utility infrastructure is a necessary first step to allow construction to begin in earnest, she said Tuesday, but once that is complete, “it will jumpstart everything.”

One of the first orders of business will be to complete the new alley between the library and First Central State Bank. That could begin as soon as Monday, Aschliman said. 

The bank outlined the short-term impact the concrete work will have on the ATM and drive-thru area.

“As construction moves forward on the library project, First Central State Bank’s ATM lane and eastern drive-up lane will have limited access over the course of the next few weeks as the city of DeWitt removes and replaces concrete,” the bank said in a statement. 

“With the exception of a few days, the ATM will be available for foot traffic during this time. Our other three drive-up lanes should be accessible during this time. First Central State Bank is appreciative of our customers’ patience as our community witnesses the progress of creating a library for the future,” the statement said.

 A temporary power outage, hopefully lasting only hours, likely will impact city hall and the library during work on moving a power transformer, Aschliman said. 

“They don’t know when or how much time, but as soon as they know, they’ll let us know. So, we will have to close temporarily when that happens,” Aschliman said. The library will try to give patrons advance notice via its website and signage.

Regular construction update meetings continue with the builder, city and library representatives, she said. That information will be shared with the public as needed.

 Bettendorf-based Precision Builders Inc. began work in June on the $5.7 million library expansion and renovation, which is expected to be completed in August 2020. 

The library will remain open for almost all that time, except for some periods when moving will take place.

The project, which will more than triple the library’s size, is being funded by a $3.5 million bond referendum, more than $2 million in private donations and grants, and $20,000 from the Clinton County Board of Supervisors.