skip to primary navigation skip to content

The Shackleton Memorial Library

The Shackleton Memorial Library

Progress Report 2

After reading the first installment, you will see that I have brought you up to the point where we were completing the demolition of old spaces in order to make room for the new.

Since then, the following has been accomplished:

  • All demolition has now been accomplished;
  • The hole for the new basement has been dug, and the pilings that will define the limits of the basement have been driven into the ground;
  • The basement concrete slab has been poured; [today the basement walls are also being poured - OJM]. The contractor, Haymills, is building "for the ages", as there is enough steel reinforcing rod inside that concrete to support our new building, with large safety margins;
  • A new main beam has been inserted across the foyer, to carry the weight of the new first and second decks, or floors;
  • The digging of the pit for the lift or elevator has started inside an insulated enclosure, to minimize dust and noise.

There are a number of other activities going on at the same time, but all of them are part of the above major ones. The strategy always has been to carry out the construction at the same time that we continue all of our other tasks here in the Institute.

So we are carrying out all of our teaching, research, library functions, archiving, and everything else you have come to expect from us, except that we have had to close the Museum for the duration of the construction period. We are now at the end of week 15 of a 44 week contract, and we are far enough along for me to predict that we will come in on time - 4 July 1998, and under budget. Maybe only 5 pounds under budget, but still..........

As I update this page, I will give progress reports, and if my predictions look to have been too optimistic, I will tell the world via these pages.

I also said, in the last edition of this page, that I would tell you a little about myself, and how an American sea captain came to be building the Shackleton Memorial Library. My wife Mary and I came over from our home near Seattle, in August 1995. I was to earn the M.Phil degree in Polar Studies here at the Institute, and in fact I was admitted to that degree in July of 1996. Being retired from the U.S. Coast Guard, and having commanded, among several other ships, a polar icebreaker, SPRI was a wonderful place for me to come, not only to increase my knowledge, but also to develop friendships started while I was still a serving officer. All of these things have come to pass, and SPRI and the University have fulfilled all of our expectations. So much so, in fact, that I approached the Director, Dr John Heap CMG, with a plan for some work that I might do for the Institute for about a year. Building the Library was NOT in that plan. However, he agreed to my plan, and then asked me if I would take on the management of the construction on behalf of the Institute. I agreed to this, and the year predicted has now expanded such that by the time Mary and I return to America, what started out to be a year's course will be three years. More on all of this next time. In the meantime, a photograph of the architect's model - (89K), so that you can see how the complex will look. And note that the PortaKabins will no longer be with us!

Captain Joe

Written by Captain Joe Wubbold on 12 December 1997.