Cultural center skeleton begins to take shapeSeptember 13, 2019
By LEANN BURKE
JASPER — If you’ve been by the corner of Fourth and Mill streets lately, chances are you’ve seen construction crews building the steel skeleton of the arts wing of the Thyen-Clark Cultural Center.
The center will house the Jasper Public Library and the gallery and office spaces for the Jasper Community Arts Commission under one roof. Krempp Construction broke ground on the project in April, and now, after months of dirt work and soil stabilization, crews have started building the structure.
“I think that’s been refreshing,” said Library Director Christine Golden. “It has definitely changed people’s conversation.”
The first several months of construction were dedicated to soil stabilization and installation of the footers that will support the building, work that Golden said is exacting. Mill Street has also been closed the past few weeks while the City of Jasper conducted a planned stormwater project. At the same time, construction crews installed the utility conduits for the cultural center. That work has wrapped up.
City Engineer Chad Hurm said this morning that the city planned to reopen the Mill Street and Third Avenue intersection by early afternoon today.
Mill Street will now be one lane in the block between Third Avenue and Fourth Street, with construction fencing blocking off one of the two lanes for the remainder of construction. The block will stay one lane once construction is completed, as the east lane will become the drop off front entrance for the event space that is part of the cultural center. Golden said there will still be street parking on both sides of the road once construction is complete.
“We appreciate every business that’s down there being very patient with the city and library on this,” Golden said.
Once the steel frame of the arts wing is completed, crews will install the frame for the shared events space before ending with the frame for the library wing on the end of the property closest to the Patoka River.
Other crews will follow the same pattern, with each phase of the project beginning in what will be the arts wing and ending in the library wing.
Behind the scenes, library and arts center staff have begun the interior design process by contacting local companies to provide the needed furnishings. Golden stressed that while there will be some new furnishings purchased, both the arts and the library will move their current furniture into the new building.
With the exception of rain necessitating adjustments to the construction schedule, Golden said the project has gone smoothly, and crews have already made up for the time lost to rain.
As long as work continues moving as it has been, the building is expected to be completed in the fall of 2020. The arts and library staff will move into the new space at that time.
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