Students get sneak peek at historic renovation

Fourth-year civil engineering students tour the construction site of the new Windsor Public Library Sandwich branch on Friday, Aug. 3, 2018.

UWindsor students got a first-hand look last week at the challenges engineers face when working on heritage projects.

Visual Arts and the Built Environment professor Jason Grossi and sessional instructor William Tape led 48 fourth-year civil and environmental engineering students through the site of the future Windsor Public Library branch in historic Sandwich last Friday.

Grossi said the new library holds many lessons for students.

“The new library is really the unification of two historic structures connected by a contemporary addition,” he said. “The completed complex will rise from the historic fire hall at the front of the property and connect to the middle 19th-century stables at the back that pre-date the 1921-built fire hall.”

Grossi said connecting the two structures took a lot of careful design and “a little bit of whimsy.”

The project is headed up by Grossi, Dr. Tape, UWindsor alumnus and City of Windsor project administrator Joe Dattilo, and Adam Craig from Windsor Public Library.

“Hopefully the most important takeaway from this experience will be the need for professionals to work collaboratively together for the creation of a challenging building,” Grossi said.

“Engineers need to understand that their expertise is one piece of the holistic process and that it’s vital they take everyone’s needs into account.”

Construction on the project started earlier this year and is expected to be completed in early 2019.