PERU — Built in 1902, from its elaborate stained-glass windows, to its sturdy tall pillars, the Carnegie Peru Library was meant to withstand the test of time.
However, that doesn’t mean the building hasn’t aged.
From a small, inadequate elevator, to the aging electrical, heating and air-conditioning systems, to leaky pipes, the building “still looks a lot like it’s 1902,” said Barrie Rassi, president of the library board.
“Oh my goodness, it’s bad. This is a place that people just want to check out books. It’s not a place where people want to stay.”
To create a more welcoming environment, board members commissioned a feasibility study on ways to renovate and expand the library.
Anderson-based krM Architecture, who conducted the study, came back with six recommendations: Remodel all three library floors with a bathroom on each floor and an Americans with Disability Act fully accessible elevator connecting all the floors; move the meeting room and children’s services from the second floor to the first floor; relocate adult services, the teen room and a small meeting room to the second floor; renovate the library’s basement to house staff offices; reinforce the building’s wood structure with steel; and find a temporary location during the renovation.
The renovations would not increase the building’s square footage, but would instead help better utilize the available space, said Charles A. Wagner, the library’s director.
No timeline has been established for the renovations, however, the estimated cost of the project is $3.01 million, he said.
With such a high price tag and an empty library coffer, Wagner said the library needs assistance to raise the money.
As a result, Wagner and library supporters have approached the Peru City Council to request matching funds as part of an Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs grant they are applying for to renovate the building.