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Remodeling about to begin at Eckhart Public Library

The fire caused heavy damage throughout the historic building, but the flames were contained to the newer portion.

Posted: Dec. 30, 2017 9:29 PM
Updated: Dec. 30, 2017 10:53 PM

AUBURN, Ind. (WFFT) - The Eckhart Public Library is still rebuilding after an arson this past summer.

The fire caused heavy damage throughout the historic building, but the flames were contained to the newer portion.

Crews spent the last six months getting the library down to the bare studs, cleaning everything by hand. Now they are ready to start rebuilding.

"2017 is going to be one of high points and low points of our library's history," said Carolyn Foley, Eckhart Library Board president.

That low point happened when Nykolas Elkin, 24, put a lit firework down the book return on July 2.

Elkin is serving a 14-year prison sentence for the fire.

Sunday, crews were ready to start rebuilding.

"We now have primer paint on everything so we are ready begin our next phase," Foley said.

That phase is remodeling.

Foley said the library is working with the same architecture firm that originally built the addition to come up with new designs of the space.

"We have attempted to respond to some patron complaints we've had over the years regarding certain portions of our layout," she said.

Foley said the designs include getting rid of the book drop into the building.

The high point she refereed to, was the support from the community.

"From day one, neighbors, patrons, complete strangers have offered their assistance and support," Foley added.

As of early December, the library has raised more than $12,000 for its recovery.

Foley said she is hoping to reopen the main campus in July.

You can help the Eckhart Public Library in its recovery efforts by making a donation.

Checks can be mailed to the Community Foundation, P.O. Box 111, Auburn, Indiana 46706, or dropped off at the Community Foundation, 700 S. Main St. and note it is for the Eckhart Library recovery.

Other ways to donate can be found here.

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