Your library needs your support at the Financial Town Meeting on Monday, June 10. The Municipal Capital Improvements Committee is recommending that $161,300 be appropriated from the Municipal Capital Stabilization Fund for the repair and renovation of roof drainage at the library. The funding for the library is one of several capital expenditures contained in Article 6 of the warrant. Since this large amount of money is to be expended for what on paper seems like a vague purpose, I thought some background information would be helpful.
The library’s roof drainage problem is serious. Water is penetrating into the building. Walls and ceiling tiles have been damaged. Thankfully, only a few items in the library’s collection have been damaged. This is the damage that we can see, however. There may be structural damage or mold growing behind the walls. If left unchecked, these problems will require expensive remediation in the future.
How is water getting into the building? I am pleased to write that it is not coming through the roof or gutters which were replaced in 2008. The roof has a twenty year warranty and the manufacturer has promptly sent out representatives whenever we have asked. The water is coming from leaks in the downspouts that carry the water from the roof and into the ground. Downspouts? If your home is like mine, the gutters and downspouts are attached to the outside of the house. But at the library, the gutters and downspouts are built into the exterior walls. While some might say that this design feature contributes to the clean modern lines of the building, it is also a serious design flaw. I know that this is difficult to envision, so I have included some photographs.
When the inevitable cycle of freezing, thawing, and re-freezing occurs each winter, ice will block-up the downspouts and water is forced back up into the building. The Public Works Department had applied a temporary fix by installing electrical heating cables. This system did eliminate th e ice blockage most of the time, but the library has lost electrical power on several occasions in the past two years. Significant water damage resulted each time the power went out.
The permanent solution is not easy or inexpensive. It will require changes in the library roof and opening up the exterior walls. This accounts for a large part of the cost. What to do with the water once it reaches the ground is another problem. The current drainage system allows water to collect against the foundation of the building. Over time, this led to the erosion of the building’s underpinnings and has caused the uneven settling of the building. This created cracks in the walls and warped some windows and doors. A significant part of the cost of the project is addressing the groundwater drainage.
I hope that you will support the library at the Financial Town Meeting on Monday, June 10. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or would like additional information.