Library repairing damage

CARA MORNINGSTAR/Sun-Gazette Above, one of the broken heating units at the James V. Brown Library that leaked, damaging the rotunda.

The James V. Brown Library started 2018 off on a rough note when water leaks damaged its front entrance area from West Fourth Street on Jan. 1.

The library is currently otherwise open, but the front entrance area and Rotunda Room has been closed off while repairs have been underway.

“Basically, we had a unit malfunction from either power outage or malfunction of the unit itself. We’re not sure yet what caused it,” said Keith Bauer, facilities manager of the James V. Brown Library. “The unit went down, and it sprung a leak from freezing … Then everything else went down, like the boilers.”

He said it probably happened before Jan. 1, but the library had been closed previously for New Year’s Eve.

“Once you have a leak like a coil, of course that shuts all the rest of the heat down in the building because it loses its pressure. It’s all piped through the library,” he said.

As far as the amount of damages, Bauer said they will have to work through the library’s insurance to cover it, but he would estimate the project at about $15,000 to $20,000 by the time everything is repaired.

“We’re just not sure what the damages are going to run,” he said. “Our insurance will probably cover it, but we’ll have a deductible.”

Thankfully, they had Duraclean come out and clean the area from water damages.

“They did a great job on getting everything dried out for us. We got everything tore out that needs replaced,” he said. “So, most of it is now cleaned up, and the damage now is fairly minimal.”

He said that access to the Pennsylvania History Room and the microfilm area are still open on request for anyone who asks.

“It’s by request. If someone requests to see the microfilm, they can come in and view it for now. There is heat in that room. We have the heat back up, we just don’t have the two units that froze up and broke yet,” he said.

If someone wishes to access those places, they just have to ask at the front desk while the area is closed off.

Bauer thinks the area will not be closed off for much longer and could be open as soon as later today.

“We have a little fix we have to fix on the unit yet to get us by until spring when we can get a new coil,” he said. “We want to get heat back in here before we open it back up.”

He said if it is not open today, the area will most likely be open again on Monday. It just depends on how fast they’re able to repair the heating and cooling unit.

While one unit is completely shot, he believes they can repair the other one of the two just to get through winter. Then, the library can see about replacements or more thorough repairs in the spring.