Renovated Casa Verdugo library nearly done

Extensive renovations to the Casa Verdugo library are nearing completion, but work on the adjoining fire station still has a long way to go.

Even as a significant portion of the second floor at Fire Station 26 is being gutted, officials hope to open the Casa Verdugo library on the 1100 block of North Brand Boulevard before May 1 — excluding any construction delays, Libraries Director Cindy Cleary said.

The library and fire station have shared the building since 1951. A complete teardown of the building had been planned, but when the economy took a downturn in 2008, those plans were quashed, said Glendale Fire Battalion Chief Greg Godfrey.

Still, the aging building had to undergo improvements to meet modern disabled-access standards, so the city set aside some funding to make upgrades to the fire station and library, Godfrey said. The renovations are slated to cost about $300,000.

The library will receive a new concrete wheelchair ramp with motorized front doors, and an interior service desk was removed to create an open space, Cleary said.

Additional seating and computer space was also allotted during the renovation, and the library will showcase a smaller collection with newer book titles on the shelves, she added.

“We are trying to give the library a different feel,” Cleary said.

Neighborhood residents had expressed concern that, despite the planned renovations, the library may not reopen due to budget constraints, but that cut was avoided.

Meanwhile, the fire station's second-floor bathroom has been torn down, leaving the station's crew to shower in an outdoor mobile bathroom in the building's rear parking lot. The renovations are expected to take up to six months, Godfrey said.

“It's a little bit tough on the living situation right now,” he said.

The building's age began to show as construction crews tore down the bathroom and discovered that water had ruined some pipes, while wood beams had rotted away, Godfrey said. The bathroom floor was also deteriorating.

During the bathroom teardown, construction crews also removed a water pipe wrapped in asbestos, Godfrey said. Roughly 10 years ago, crews also removed asbestos-ridden surface tiles from the building, he added.

Once renovations to the bathroom are completed, three new showers will replace two older ones and five toilets will replace the existing three.

Separate restroom and shower facilities for men and women will be also be added.

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