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April 23, 2013

Ceiling at library falls, injures man

By Joe Mahoney
The Daily Star

---- — COOPERSTOWN — A patron in the adult reading room of the Cooperstown Village Library was injured Monday afternoon when a large chunk of plaster dropped from the ceiling above him, officials said.

The library and the Cooperstown Art Association’s gallery and classroom were then closed for the day while village officials arranged for an structural engineering expert to inspect the damage in the building, located at 22 Main St.

Police Chief Michael Covert said the patron, identified as a 63-year-old Edmeston man, suffered an arm injury when the section of plaster broke loose at about 12:25 p.m. and hit him.

The man was taken to Bassett Medical Center, where he was treated in the emergency room. When he was later released from the hospital, police ferried him back to his car, Covert said..

“He said he heard a noise, went to move a little bit and the ceiling collapsed on him and the chair next to him,” Covert said. “We’re glad that he is going to be O.K.. That’s the main thing.” He said the man suffered no broken bones, though his arm was put into a sling.

The cause of the incident was not immediately known, said village Mayor Jeff Katz and Lou Allstadt, a village trustee and a member of the village’s Streets and Buildings Committee.

“The building is a little long in the tooth right now and it needs a little care to get its back on its feet,” said Allstadt.

Allstadt estimated that the oval-shaped section of plaster that dropped was about eight feet long and several feet wide.

Located on the floor immediately above the reading room is a ballroom that is used for classes by the Art Association. Officials said there was no indication that activity in that room would have caused the plaster — which had been held in place by wooden lath — to give way

Allstadt said both the ballroom and the adult reading room will remain closed today.

The adult reading room is located off the main floor of the building. The plaster that fell was near the fire place, on the east side of the storied neo-classical structure, which was commissioned by Elizabeth Scriven Clark in 1898 as a YMCA.

Her son, Robert Sterling Clark, gave the building to the village in 1932. The structure, according to Allstadt, was the original home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, now located across the street.

An addition to the building that houses village departments such as the police department and the clerk’s office. Those agencies were not impacted by the incident.

According to the web site, plaster problems are typically caused by either water or settling or movement of a building.