Kent Library Getting New Brick Exterior

Architectural Mesh Screen to be Removed From Front of Library

The nearly 40-year-old brick exterior is being removed from Kent Library this summer as work is under way to repair moisture problems that have plagued the interior walls of the building for several years. 

“We’ve got some issues on the inside in the walls with moisture,” said Kevin McMeel, Facilities Management project manager. 

McMeel said the west wall has been particularly problematic as moisture problems are clearly visible to library patrons inside the facility in that area. Moisture has caused paint to peel on that interior wall, he added.

Foeste Masonry began removing the brick exterior June 10. Some sample work was started on the west side of the library, although the primary work area is now on the south side of the building. Work will then proceed to the east side, to a very small section on the north side and then back to the west side, McMeel said.

The plan is to remove the brick during the summer months on the south and east sides to reduce inconvenience to students who use the public entrance on the south side of the building or those going to Textbook Rental on the east side.

Once the brick is removed, measures will be taken to restrict the infiltration of moisture by dampproofing and re-caulking the interior walls, and installing new flashing and rigid insulation, he said. Brick will then be laid again on the exterior.

McMeel said the new brick will be nearly identical to the old, so there will be no major difference in the building’s exterior appearance.

“It will look close to what’s there,” he said.

The $751,725 project is expected to be completed by the end of November.

In a separate but related project, work is expected to begin later this summer on permanently removing the architectural mesh screening that currently hangs from the ceiling and is connected to the columns on the front (north) side of Kent Library. Angela Meyer, Southeast project manager, said the mesh is being removed in an effort to improve the appearance of the building and prevent pigeons from roosting in the portico area on the front of the library.

Once the screen is removed, a window washing contractor will be hired to clean the windows that have been covered by the screen for many years, she said.

When the work is completed, the windows of the library will be visible from the street.

“It’s going to open up the view from inside,” Meyer said, “and provide a noticeable improvement in the overall appearance both inside and outside the building.”

Removal of the mesh screening and window cleaning is expected to be completed in early fall.