Library plaza safety fix completed

Matt Inman and Jim Hanna with Hanna Sandblasting Inc. sand blast the public plaza at the Glenwood Springs Library, Wednesday. Work finished Thursday to rough up and remove the clear, water-proofing coat off the concrete to make the surface less slippery.
Christopher Mullen / Post Independent |

Work finished up Thursday to fix a safety problem outside the Glenwood Springs Library that has been a concern since the $6 million facility opened a little over a year ago.

All this week, crews have been sandblasting the surface of the outdoor plaza/patio area on the south side of the library building to remove a waterproofing layer that had proven to be a slipping hazard.

“We have had a few people slip, but gladly no one has been badly injured,” said Amelia Shelley, executive director for the Garfield County Public Library District.

The waterproofing had been added to help keep water from seeping through to the underground parking garage below the shared library and Colorado Mountain College building, which goes by the name Cooper Commons.

“We didn’t anticipate that it would turn into an ice skating rink out there,” Shelley said. “It got to where every time it rained they had to go out and put up signs warning of the danger.”

Shelley said the library district was able to negotiate a deal with FCI Constructors, the general contractor on the larger, $11 million project, to share the approximately $8,000 cost to do the sandblasting on the patio.

“We looked at doing an acid etch surface, but we couldn’t do that because of the parking beneath. So it was decided the sandblasting was much less invasive,” Shelley said. “We lose the waterproofing, but the public safety piece was pretty critical.”

Library Branch Manager Sue Schnitzer said the work this week was not too disruptive for library patrons. In fact, visitor numbers were up, she said, which was primarily due to some school groups that had activities scheduled at the library this week.

The outdoor patio and plaza area has gotten a fair amount of use since the library was completed, and especially during the first summer of operation, she said.

“We’ve had chalk art for the kids, and our anniversary celebration last month with music outside,” Schnitzer said. “At the beginning of the summer we had our Summer Reading Program kickoff party with fire department booths and even had a fire truck parked there for the kids to climb in.”

There have also been dance events, a bike clinic day and the noon brown bag lunch events, all without incident even with the slipping concern, she said.

“The safety factor is one thing that has concerned us, but people are out there using it all the time,” she said. “We’re hoping to keep that up next year.”

Plans for the area may include some type of shading structures, Shelley said. However, nothing can be anchored to the patio because it also serves as a post-tension slab over the parking garage, and cannot be compromised.

“We are looking at maybe some table-based umbrellas, benches and just some more aesthetic amenities,” she said. “We are trying to activate that space more.”

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