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Superstructure of Aurora’s new downtown library ‘half-finished’

AurorPublic Library will become The Richard GinSantori Public Library Aurorwhen it opens its doors spring 2015.

Aurora Public Library will become The Richard and Gina Santori Public Library of Aurora when it opens its doors in spring, 2015.

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Updated: January 13, 2014 7:20PM

AURORA — The steel beams are showing.

The superstructure that will one day be part of Aurora’s new main library branch at River and Benton streets is half completed, library officials said.

So far, the library construction project is on budget and on time, according to Barbara Katterman, who is acting as the library’s representative on the project. More than 6,000 construction hours have been put in to date, she said.

“There are many phases, but I think it’s moving well … products are being ordered and everything’s falling into place,” Katterman said Friday.

Structural strength

Steel work will continue on the site for another two months.

“Some days they’re bolting down beams, some days their raising beams,” Katterman said.

The New Year deep freeze that swept into the Fox Valley didn’t slow steel workers on site much. As temperatures reached into the negative teens Jan. 3, steel crews continued to work on site, Katterman said. But as dangerous temperatures prolonged Monday and Tuesday, steel workers ceased work.

“Iron workers are a completely different breed,” she said. “I was absolutely amazed… (At times) it was minus 14 and they were still working out there bare-handed.”

Bid packages

A second library construction bid package, which represents more than a dozen bid categories, is to be opened today. Covered in the package is masonry, additional steel work and interior finishes, among other work.

Katterman initially rejected roof, steel and glazing bids covered in the library’s first bid package because of budget limitations. They were later re-bid.

Eva Luckinbill, executive director of the Aurora Public library system, said she keeps daily tabs on the construction site, and so far, is happy with the progress.

“People are now seeing the structure — the magnitude of it — and it’s wonderful,” Luckinbill said.

Officials broke ground on the 92,000-square-foot Aurora library project May 1. The project is expected to be completed in May 2015, Katterman said.

New name

Upon opening, the library will be named The Richard and Gina Santori Public Library of Aurora after their namesake foundation donated $3 million to the library in December.

A second charitable gift is expected to be announced in the coming weeks, according to Aurora library spokesperson Amy Roth.

The $28 million main library is being built at the former Beacon-News lot, which the library purchased in 2009.

The library received a $10.8 million state grant to offset the cost of the facility in March.

The library’s construction management firm is R. C. Wegman Construction.

By state law, the city will have the first right to the existing downtown library building at 1 E. Benton St. Aurora officials have not yet decided if the city will exercise its right to first claim, City spokesman Dan Ferrelli said this week.

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