New community learning center construction underway, expands Palomas public library

learning center construction

Going UP…new learning center in Palomas will encourage educational opportunities.

A crew of five young people and their supervisor have worked for almost three weeks on a new community learning center addition for the Palomas public library.  The progress is remarkable. The new handicap accessibility ramp is finished, and the papercrete walls of the classroom are almost complete.  Builders will start the roof this week:  three barrel arches made of ferro cement and insulated with papercrete panels.

starting construction Sept. 25

BEFORE Photo: Construction began September 25. Progress is easy to see, as compared to the photo at the top of the post

In addition to providing a new  learning center for the community, this project will serve as an ongoing demonstration of several sustainable technologies that could improve building methods in Palomas.  Papercrete costs about the same per square foot as cement blocks and yet has an R value (insulation capability) that is far superior.  That means the new building addition will stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer – thereby reducing heating and cooling costs.  It also has better soundproofing qualities and is lighter.

Building the roof of a house is often one of the biggest expenses.  As you drive around Palomas, you’ll see many unfinished houses lacking roofs.  Using ferro cement is a more economical method of building a roof than the most common method: using metal panels.

new accessibility ramp on Palomas public library

The crew has already completed new accessibility ramp on Palomas public library.

One challenge with ferro cement, however, is that it’s a little tricky to learn the process of working with it. But after this project, six people from Palomas will know how to do it.  We might hope that one day ferro cement roofing could eventually become a business.

Contributions to get the Learning Center up-and-running are still important, according to Border Partners’ Polly Edmunds.

“We need money to complete the addition and hire a staff person,” stated Edmunds.  “We are applying for a grant from Rotary International for equipment but if anyone has ideas for other sources of equipment we could use more ideas.”

The Learning Center also needs  late-model computers with at least 2G RAM. Used computers fitting that profile are welcome contributions for the learning center, the library and the schools in Palomas..
Our blog post next week will feature photos of the new roof going up! Stay posted!