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Monday, May 2, 2016

Library project 14 months past original finish date

Friday, October 19, 2007

Workers dig around the retaining wall at the Brazil Public Library on Thursday. The work is part of the issues that need to be resolved before the library can reopen. Melinda Quasius photo.
Unfortunately for the people of Brazil, there is still no projected opening date for the Public Library.

The $1.6 million, 7,000 square-foot addition and remodel project is currently 14 months over the original project time.

Library Director Jill Scarbrough is having a hard time understanding the delays.

“I still don’t have an answer to why,” Scarbrough told The Brazil Times Thursday.

The list of fire code violations and other building issues given to Pyramid Architects and Engineering, Inc. in July is not completed.

Scarbrough asked for legal assistance in early September, and on Sept. 24 she and representatives from Pyramid met to discuss the work that needed to be done.

Three days later, Scarbrough received a second letter from a code consultant from RTM in Indianapolis revising her original assessment of the code violations.

Scarbrough said the consultant seemed knowledgeable and rattled off the codes in violation during her inspection, which contradicts the letter’s admission of the consultants lack of knowledge of local codes.

One of the revised code infractions involves dry wall over the new study rooms on the first floor.

The design of the building called for an open-return plan for the heating and cooling system, so there is a 17-inch open space in the walls above the dropped ceiling.

The open-return design does not meet code, and therefore, the original repairs needed included filling the open space with dry wall.

In the code consultant’s second letter, the opening does not need to be sealed.

Scarbrough is taking the revised list to the state inspector to have it reviewed.

“I don’t know how something that could keep us from opening could just disappear,” Scarbrough said.

Despite the confusion, some of the repairs have been completed.

A gutter inspection was completed earlier this year, and on Thursday, work was being done on the retaining wall and drainage in back of the building.

Scarbrough said the back had “negative drainage.”

Steel fire doors are set to arrive at Pyramid’s Jasper office on Nov. 2, and Scarbrough has been told to anticipate installation the next day.

Work that remains to be addressed revolves around the HVAC system, which provides heating and cooling to the building.

The inspector found several issues with the system, including some return grills and supply ducts were not installed, and some of the vents have no ductwork leading to them.

Another issue is a HVAC vent is penetrating some of the stonework.

The HVAC units themselves have also experienced belt failure several times.

HVAC contractors can only do the repairs to the units and the ductwork, and Scarbrough says there has been no communication with the contractors.

The final code issue cannot be resolved until the HVAC work has been completed.

In the new meeting rooms on the first floor, the bulkheads around the ductwork need to be covered with two layers of dry wall.

The construction crews that have done the dry wall work have volunteered to take down the ductwork, but Scarbrough said, although she appreciated the thought, she declined their offer because of safety concerns.

“If you buy a Honda, you don’t take it to a Mercedes (dealer) to get it fixed,” said Scarbrough.

Despite the construction frustrations, the library’s “Library on the Lawn” program is a success, and Scarbrough said she has seen how appreciative patrons are to have some of the materials available to them.

The library board has also voted to extend any non-resident card that expires during 2007 to May 2008.

When asked how the library could return to its original function, Scarbrough said, “Opening the soonest we could would be the only way.”

Currently, no members of the public are allowed in the building, including employee’s spouses or children.

Pyramid Architects and Engineering did not return phone calls or e-mails for comment by press time.

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