JTEL New Library Phase 1 Construction is coming up!

Site Photo TankThe new Passive House library building on Village Road will be literally “getting into the ground” this summer! On Tuesday, May 24th at 2:00 pm, a total of eight bids were received for the construction of the new underground, 12,000 gallon insulated concrete thermal storage tank. The low bid was below the Architect’s estimate and comfortably within our budget of grant funds that must be expended by December 31, 2016 on the new building project, leaving adequate contingency and the potential for adding additional work. The successful bidder is Trost Construction, Inc., a long time Fairbanks contractor, and the JTEL Board of Directors today approved issuance of a Notice of Intent to Award to the successful bidder for both the Base Bid and Alternate No. 1 – Performance and Payment Bonding. The Bid Tabulation showing all the bids and the Notice of Intent to Award (NOITA) are now posted under the Bid Documents tab of the JTEL website.

Another important milestone was the receipt of the Plan Review Certificate from the State Fire Marshal, which is the building code authority having jurisdiction in Ester.

SFM Certificate

SFM Plan Review Certificate

After the submission of required documents, including bonds and insurance certificates, an Agreement with Trost Construction will be executed and work can begin. A ground breaking will be occurring in the near future, and the project will be completed late this summer or early fall.


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Open for bibliophiles!

The John Trigg Ester Library is open 9 to 9 daily, but somehow a rumor got started that we are closed until the cabin is fixed up—not true! Our doors have always been open at 3618 Main Street, with a cozy chair loaned by Frank Therrell and pillows donated by Judy Stauffer. We’re on the ground floor of the red-and-white two-storey building next to Frank and Amy’s log castle. Come on in, sign up for a membership, and check out a book. Or sit down and stay a while!

Cozy chair at 3816 Main Street facility.

Cozy chair at 3816 Main Street facility. Photo by Gary Pohl.

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A view inside the cabin

Things are happening! Eric Glos, volunteer extraordinaire, framed in the new office and bathroom of the Ansgar and Ida Clausen Cabin. Next step: leveling and strengthening the building’s floor. (Photos by Gary Pohl.)

framing bath framingcorner

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Progress on new library’s Phase 1

Tuesday morning, May 10th at 10 in the morning, the JTEL held a non-mandatory pre-bid conference for contractors and subcontractors interested in possibly working on the first stage of the new building, the thermal storage tank. Representing the library were Gary Pohl and Deirdre Helfferich (and large dog Oskar); ten or eleven area builders showed up and, after a few questions, we all went for a walk in the crisp early sunshine to see the land at 488 Village Road. Pohl will be posting an addendum in response to the questions; for more on the plans for Phase 1, photos, the addenda, instructions, and more, please see our Bid Documents tab.

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Finance Committee agenda, 05.04.2016

Finance Committee minutes April 13, 2016

  •  Old Business — Finance
  • Inventory of Restricted Funds
  • Laptop findings
  • Quick Books
  • AK Library Association renewal
  • March Finance report
  • Memberships
  • Un-reimbursed Reimbursement forms progress
  • Renewal of domain name
  • New Business
  • Insurance policy
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Collections and inventory – April 2016

In the last month, 107 new titles have been added to the inventory, including a couple of movies. Almost all of them are, of course, ones that we have had for many years and simply hadn’t yet gotten into the catalog.

Our total inventory as of the end of April is 6,564 titles.

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Clausen Cabin construction stage 2

Even more work has been done on the construction in stage 2 in the cabin plan. Eric Glos is once again helping out, disconnecting and moving the old Monitor out of the corner, replacing the areas in the floor nearby that had succumbed to dry rot, and moving the toilet and vanity out of the bathroom area in preparation for the outer wall insulation and ADA reconstruction of the new bathroom. New volunteer Pat Mowry has put in a couple of hours so far too; many thanks to both of you!

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Clausen Cabin work party April 17

Another work party took place on April 17, this time to remove the bathroom walls and tub. The tub will be sold and the walls reconfigured and rewired so that we can have a secure, lockable office and an ADA-worthy bathroom, with room for wheelchair access. Photos below by Monique Musick.

Josh at left and Gary Pohl removing the paneling covering the bathroom wall.

Josh Harris at left and Gary Pohl removing the paneling covering the bathroom wall.

Mike Musick on the back porch during the work party at the Clausen Cabin April 17.

Mike Musick on the back porch during the work party at the Clausen Cabin April 17.

Gary Pohl and Josh dismantling the bathroom wall.

Gary Pohl and Josh Harris dismantling the bathroom wall. The next stage will be to cap off the pipes, insulate the outer wall, remove the extra kitchen cabinets, and rebuild and rewire the bathroom/office walls. Volunteers are desperately needed!

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Clausen Cabin Work is Moving Forward with a Plan

JTEL is extremely fortunate to have Ansgar Clausen’s cabin, built in 1974, as an asset. Until funding becomes available and construction of the new building is complete, it will be the home of the library and primary point of interaction for committee and board meetings, special events such as the seed exchange, social interaction amongst our members, and library functions. It is only 720 square feet in size, but has the capacity to house a reasonable number of volumes in the stack areas, as well as reading, work and support space. It is not without character and a cozy charm as well, and upon renovation will be a place where folks will want to go.

Through the enthusiasm and efforts of our awesome volunteers, the tired old cabin is getting new life and is being carefully planned for step by step upgrades to improve safety, energy efficiency, and accessibility, while also being  reworked to function as a library. Some great work has already been accomplished, including replacement of the two old worn out exterior doors with new insulated doors, and adding insulation and gypsum board to approximately 60 percent of the building exterior. With new paint on the walls, the cabin is now much brighter and noticeably warmer with infiltration being drastically reduced.

New insulation and furring in progress!

New insulation and furring in progress!

New paint brightens things up!

New paint brightens things up!









Over the last month, the Facilities Committee developed three initial design Concepts A, B and C for master planning the renovation of the cabin. A final Concept D was then synthesized from the best features of the original concepts and presented to the JTEL Board of Directors on April 6th. The plan was unanimously approved. As indicated on the approved Concept Plan below, the new layout will include a small securable office, library stacks, work/reading areas, a small children’s area, kitchenette and restroom. The design will provide for full ADA access with a new exterior ramp, accessible restroom and ADA clearances throughout all areas.

Approved Concept D

Approved Concept D

Because funding is limited, a work plan was developed breaking the work down into ten “projects” envisioned to accomplish the work on a step by step basis, as funding is available, in a critical path sequence. These projects include:

1.  Muck out the cabin: Move and clean out items to allow renovation work.

2. Reconfigure Restroom and Office: Remove several walls (shown dashed in the drawing above) and bathtub and build new walls (shown hatched) to allow a larger office area and leaving room for ADA clearance at the bathroom. Exterior walls in the office and bathroom would be insulated and furred. Bathtub is a Jacuzzi type and will be sold to help finance the work.

3. Level Building and Strengthen Floor: The building is out of kilter and it will be leveled after the ground thaws and dries out. In addition, additional floor structure will be added to provide code required 150 psf live load at stack areas.

4. ADA Ramp and Accessible Route: A handicapped parking spot will be designated and an accessible route will be provided to the north deck, including a ramp. This location avoids snow shedding of the roof, and provides the shortest length of ramp.

5. Stack Area Electrical: It is important to have appropriate lighting in the stack and reading areas. The two overhead fan/light units will be salvaged and reinstalled over the two new work areas, and track lighting, which offers good flexibility, will be added at the stack areas. Outlets will also be extended to the stack area.

6. Relocate Monitor and Fuel Tank: With the construction of the new office, it will be necessary to move the existing Monitor stove and fuel tank. This will get the stove into a better location and move the tank out of site. A small shed roof to protect the tank from sliding snow will be added.

7. Reconfigure Kitchen to Work Area: The bulk of the kitchen cabinets and Monarch wood cook stove will be removed and sold to help finance the work. The walls in the kitchen will be insulated and furred, and some cabinets and existing sink will be retained to provide a small kitchenette with sink and space for a microwave and mini-refrigerator. The bulk of the former kitchen space will now be a work and meeting area.

8. Floor Finish in Stacks, Office and Work: After the bulk of the construction is complete, new flooring and wall base will be installed in these areas.

9. New Library Stacks: New tall perimeter wall stacks, low shelving/window seats and five of the JTEL owned double stack units will be provided, which will provide space for approximately 5,000 volumes. Note: In the interim, shelving may be first installed over the existing plywood floor, if funding for Project 8 – New Flooring is not available.

10. ADA Restroom: This last project would complete the remodel of the bathroom to meet ADA accessibility guidelines when funding permits. In the interim, the portions of the bathroom not included in Project 2 will remain as is.

There is a long way yet to go, but making a plan to move forward is crucial step which will facilitate doing the work in a logical sequence, and in a more cost effective manner. Volunteers will be needed to help level the building and install new underfloor structure, to relocate the fuel tank, build the exterior ramp, and for various portions of the interior work. Work on Project 1 starts on April 9, and Project 2 will start immediately afterwards, including cleaning up and reworking the electrical by a volunteer electrician.

And lastly, special thanks to all our volunteers for their efforts: Hans Moelders, Scott Allen, and Jasmine Stokes for hauling books out to storage; Hans, Eric Glos and Columbo for insulating, furring and sheetrocking; and the great painting crew of Hans, Syrilyn Tong, Ginny and Mindy Gallagher, and Deirdre Helfferich. We could not be where we are now without these folks!



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Restricted funds 2016

New Building Fund

Construction & Design Grants:

  • DLA 12-DC-596, expires December 31, 2016
    • $63,664 remaining (reimbursement)
  • FNSB Public Purpose Award, expires December 31, 2016
    • $26,146.25 remaining (plus $3,500 reimbursement)

Current subtotal: $93,310.25 in state and borough grants

Individual Donations

  • Bookshelf Dedications: $3,350
  • Pick.Click.Give. total: $2,675 (Note: FY 2016 & 2017’s donations may be allocated to other needs, such as the Clausen Cabin, programs, the endowment, etc. in addition to or instead of the capital campaign)
  • $5,000 donation (Anonymous): $3,000 toward new building, remaining $2,000 to endowment
  • $5,000 (Golden North Rebekah Lodge 4A)
  • $1,000 (Innovation Consulting)
  • $500 (Chena Koponen)

Other grants and funds

Ruth Jasper Fund: specific to children’s programs, materials/equipment for them, children’s collections, capital projects to create a children’s area in the Ester library. Not exclusive to a particular building. To be used with Ruth and kids in mind.

Community Revenue Sharing Funds: annual grant varying in size ($6,400 to $10,000 to date), to be used within the FNSB fiscal year (by June 30)

  • small capital projects
  • operating funds but:
  • cannot be used for endowments, marketing, savings


  • held to raise funds for operating costs and to purchase land, construct building, as well as show earnest intent to grantmakers
  • after donation of Clausen Cabin (August 2013, announcement made at LiBerry 2013)

Gazebo fund

  • reserved for repair and improvements on gazebo
  • initial IndieGoGo fundraiser total: $1,020
  • Expenditures to date: Lexan
  • ~$640 left

Gulliver’s used book trading account: $1,340 (to date)

  • 10% cash match required
  • To be used to fill in missing titles by authors or in series or topic areas to fill out our collections
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