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  Culver-Union Township Public Library, Page 60Culver-Union Township Public Library
119 W. Wayne Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46802

Culver, Indiana
Total Square Feet: 18,400
Construction Period:
Jan 2001 to May 2002

Construction Team
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: WA Sheets & Sons, Inc., 1336 Polk Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46808
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Engineering Resources, Inc., 9835 Auburn Road, Fort Wayne, IN 46825
ELECTRICAL & MECHANICAL ENGINEER: Matson Consulting Engineers, Inc., 3131 Engle Road, Fort Wayne, IN 46809

The quintessential Midwestern town of Culver, Indiana is only quintessential by first glance. Hosting the Culver Academies - a private military college preparatory high school thats history and prestige brings alumni and legacies to town from all over the world - has exposed Culver to the styles, designs, and culture of east and west coasts. One walking tour would acclimate a person to a coast-town feel with Midwestern roots. This unique cultural environment was cornerstone to the approach the library board and Morrison Kattman Menze, Inc. endeavored upon.

The accelerating collection growth and land-locked situation of the Culver- Union Township Public Library had reached a boiling point when the library board decided to move forward with expansion of its 4,000-square-foot Carnegie Library, circa 1910, to a planned 18,400- square-foot facility. The new library was planned to house triple the adult and children's collection space as well as providing future growth areas.

The design was created with the goal of saving the view of the original Carnegie Library on the three sides exposed to Main Street. This was accomplished by adding directly onto the west side of the original building, creating a small link from the south to the north halves, and a large mass of building on the north half of the site.

Saving the Carnegie Library was a must from the beginning. Its presence as a downtown anchor was publicly pronounced. The challenge was tying into a building of that age, maintaining as much as possible, and making any renovations to it invisible to the public eye. As the building was not on the Historic Register, some latitude was allowed, but the public's demand of maintaining the Carnegie was most important.

The Carnegie Building foundations were stabilized with additional concrete and reinforcement, as the original lower level walls were bowing and structurally unsound. The integral gutter/dentil/soffit work was replaced with custom matching pre-molded fiberglass.

Many of the construction materials and types were arrived upon for the sole purpose of maintaining the relatively minimal existing floor-to-floor heights throughout the building. One of the major components involved in making this possible was to utilize a precast, stress core floor - only 14-inches deep at the largest span - and a second was installing a new 4-pipe heating and cooling system that allowed decentralization of the air handling that kept large ductwork to a minimum.

The exterior material selections for the addition involved finding a brick blend that would complement the existing, yet identify itself as a new. A multitude of options were researched, and a Belden Blend was selected that performed the task. The roofing was planned to be a standing seam metal roof that could both accommodate a radiused roof as well as the existing hip roof, without becoming a focal point.

The true focus and gem of the building is the entry axis. The main entrance from the parking is on a raised platform, referring to history of the public prominence of the library and a place for higher learning. Upon entry the patron is thrust into a tall space that is rich in color with high, vaulted, wood ceilings and great expanses of light flooding in. At the far end of the hall the first floor to roof glazing system allows a view out to the new plaza, historic main street, and out to the lake a couple of blocks away.

From start to finish, the goal was to design and build a library that reflected this unique community's makeup . . . a historic town with progressive and worldly perspective. Maintaining an historic building while adding a warm, contemporary, large addition that would continue to anchor the north end of Main Street with the public prominence and presence a library should have.

DIV 04:
Masonry: The Belden Brick Company.
DIV 06:
Architectural Woodwork: Fypon.
DIV 07:
EPDM: Carlisle; Metal: Berridge.
DIV 08:
Curtainwall: YKK AP America; Wood Windows: Andersen; Wood Doors: Graham Manufacturing; Finish Hardware: Corbin Russwin.

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