On Nov. 9, if the Helen Plum Library referendum is unsuccessful, Director Barb Kruser, her administration team and the Board of Trustees will immediately begin looking at the Library’s operating budget to make some very difficult decisions on which services, collections, building hours, and staff can be cut or reduced to pay for all of the necessary building repairs and replacements. The Library will also not have the ability to increase study, meeting and shelving spaces, add a dedicated teen area, improve accessibility for persons with disabilities, expand access to technology training, provide separate adult and children’s services or upgrade the book drop-off.
According to the Facility Assessment completed in December 2015, costs for high priority items recommended to be scheduled in the next year exceed $1 million and would entirely deplete the Library’s current Special and Capital reserve funds. This includes replacing the Library’s two boilers (installed in 1968 and 1973, well beyond their useful life), and the HVAC system to prevent future catastrophic system failures that could impact the ability of the Library to operate.
Additional recommendations that need to be addressed in the next 2-4 years will total an additional $1.5 million, including replacing the leaking membrane on the exterior concrete plaza and the original roof and windows, as well as adding a fire protection sprinkler system.
The costs estimates do not include fees, testing and contingencies which can add up to 30% more to project costs. Also, estimates are 2015 costs and accommodations for inflation will need to be added.