/ Articles / Building projects in Manitowish Waters completed

Building projects in Manitowish Waters completed

Town voters authorized construction, expansion in 2019

July 03, 2020 by Brian Jopek

In March, 2019, voters in the town of Manitowish Waters approved an expansion and exterior improvements to the town’s community center along with an addition to the Koller Library and construction of a new fire station. 

Total cost for all three projects was nearly $4 million. 

The community center addition was 1,600 square feet and focused not only on basic expansion and improvements to the building but also on providing a lot more space for the Manitowish Waters Chamber of Commerce, which before the construction, had been squeezed into a small office space across from the town office. 

At the Koller Library, director Janelle Kohl said the expansion of that building has freed up its community room for programs. 

“Our community room had always been our all purpose room with computers and seating areas for people who wanted to bring their laptops,” she said. “When we’d have programs, then, we’d have to move everything and drag the furniture out of that room for special program seating.”

Kohl said moving everything around in that manner became an issue the past few years as special programs at the Koller Library have become more common. 

“It’s just a change, an evolution in the library world that special programs have become a big part of library services,” she said. “Unlike 20 years ago when they weren’t.”

The expansion of the library has provided another area where people can use their laptops and the library’s WiFi connection. 

“That has evolved into quite a popular service,” Kohl said.

The building addition also includes three small rooms Kohl said people may use for a quiet place to work during library hours. 

“Much has changed and these days, even outside of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of people’s work is done online,” she said. “We also have what we call two ‘cozy rooms’ that will offer a more open area for people to sit.”

Kohl said the library now has an established  digitizing lab where people can convert VHS or cassette tapes to CD or DVD formats.

There’s also a machine that digitizes camera film as well. 

“People can make a DVD out of that or download the photos onto a flash drive,” she said. 

Kohl explained the library has had this equipment, obtained through grants applied for in conjunction with the Manitowish Waters Historical Society, but before the addition, no place to set it up in a long term situation. 

“We’ve had the equipment for some time and when it’s needed, I’d pick it up and haul it to whatever space we had so it could be used,” she said. “Now, we have a room with a door and anyone who needs some time, they can spread their work out on a table. It’s just so nice to have a separate spot.”

The architect for the community center and library projects was Steve Jamroz of Blue Design Group. He was the architect for the Boulder Junction Community Center and Library and is currently working with the town of Plum Lake on designs for three buildings voters there recently approved.

The new home for the Manitowish Waters Fire Company, now down the road from the community center, is scheduled to be ready for occupation this summer.

“Everything turned out well,” town chairman John Hanson said. “We’re really pleased.”

Brian Jopek may be reached via email at [email protected]

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