Ossian Branch Library remodel, expansion project completed

June 21, 2013

By GLEN WERLING

Members of the Wells County Public Library were faced with a conundrum. The Ossian branch was outgrowing its space and was starting to look a little dated inside. It needed to grow and it needed remodeling.
Normally such conundrums carry with them equally challenging questions of how they will be funded. That, however, was not an issue with the Ossian branch.
No new taxes were needed to pay for the expansion and remodeling. Members of the library board had been saving.
“Our staff and the library board have been talking about doing this project for awhile,” said WCPL director Stephanie Davis. “We discussed all of the needs of the Ossian branch and we decided the number one need was for more people space.”
Public access computers consumed most of the people space that was originally built into the library in 1994.
Other needs included a meeting room and storage space.
Architect Tim Tierman of Design Collaborative came up with some changes in space and additional space designs as well as punching up the interior appearance with warm, bold colors.
Local artist Nancy Wagner also repainted the murals inside the building.
“One of the things this building lacked was color. It was pretty white and pretty sterile. One of our objectives was to add a little color to the building and make it a little more welcoming and pleasant,” said Davis. She added that Jesse Frauhiger of Habegger Ace Hardware made several interior suggestions, including adding wood to the sides of the steel shelving.
The project cost $417,500, which included an expanded parking lot, a new roof on the older section, a larger room for gatherings with an attached kitchen, new furnishings and a new HVAC system. The entire building was reconfigured with the main entrance moved from the east side of the building to the north.
In addition to the cash saved by the WCPL board over the years since the original structure was built, the project was also funded by donations from the Wells County Foundation’s Deb Neuenschwander Memorial Endowment Fund and donations from local resident Ted Waters. Waters yearly holds book sales at the library and then donates the proceeds from the sale.
“Everybody worked together to make this a really good project when it was said and done,” Davis said.
Construction,  remodeling and landscaping wrapped up earlier this year and an open house was held on May 19, thanking the library’s patrons for being patient with the remodeling and welcoming them to check out the improvements. υ

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