Library board moves forward with repairs

COVINGTON -- The Newton County Library Board of Trustees held a special-called meeting Thursday to discuss needed repairs to the Covington and Porter Memorial branches.

Board members agreed to hire architects with Craig Gaulden Davis of Greenville, S.C., to conduct a facilities assessment to determine what repairs are needed for the roof and HVAC system at the Covington branch and to give a cost estimate.

The library system has a state grant of up to $100,000 for roof repairs. The state grant will pay half the cost of repairs, up to $100,000, with an equal match required from the library system. If repairs exceed the maximum the state will cover, the library system is responsible for the remaining cost.

It's not yet clear where matching funds will come from, but there may be some money in the operations budget that can be used, said Library Board of Trustees Chairman Steve Whatley.

The library has a fundraising campaign underway called Raise the Roof. Thus far, $1,488.92 has been raised through private donations.

Donations can be made at any of the library's three locations or mailed to 7116 Floyd St., Covington, GA, 30014.

The roof has been leaking, with water coming inside the building and trickling down the wall in the genealogy room.

The library's HVAC system also needs to be replaced. Director Lace Keaton previously said the boiler had gone out three times in a two-week period and that compressors are not working properly.

Whatley said the board needs to take care of the public's facilities and its money at the same time, which is why professionals need to be brought in to assess the situation before the projects are put out to bid.

Once the assessment is complete and the board knows the final budget figures for fiscal year 2014, the board will decide how to proceed, said Keaton.

The board approved paying Craig Gaulden and Davis $4,850 for its services. The architects are familiar with the library system, as they provided architectural services at Porter Memorial and handled the concept design for the renovation of the children's area at the Covington branch.

Also, one of the air conditioning units at Porter Memorial Library failed two weeks ago. The part that failed was not under warranty and there was no maintenance agreement for the system. Repairs were made by Siemens of Norcross. The board agreed to a three-year contract with Siemens for preventative maintenance, at a cost of $4,780 for the first year; $4,876 for the second year; and $4,973 for the third year. Siemens was the only contractor that could be located that is familiar with LEED certified buildings, designed to reduce energy consumption. The HVAC system in the library is specialized, with custom-made filters in the floor.

"We just can't call anyone to come and work on this system," Whatley said.