Seaford Library in need of repairs

By Lynn R. Parks

After paying off an $850,000 loan to construct a new building, the Seaford District Library has had to borrow more than $250,000 to pay to correct drainage problems that were allowing water to get into the building.

Library director Jerry Keiser said that the anticipated cost of the necessary work is $207,000. Contractor is Titan Restoration Company, Warrenton, Va.

Engineering costs so far have amounted to an additional $53,845.

Payments on the loan that the library has taken out will be made from the librarys budget. That means that there will be less money that the library can use to pay for books or programs. This years book budget is $12,000, down by nearly two-thirds from last years book budget of $35,000.

On top of this, Keiser said that the library spent about $25,000 in December to fix windows that were leaking. Old sealants had to be replaced and the tilt of the windowsills had to be corrected so that water wouldnt flow in.

The board is concerned about the expense and how is could affect our budget, but we have no choice, library board president Janet Messick said. The remediation is necessary to maintain the structure and safety of the building. The board of trustees is committed to providing the services and programs that the citizens of Saford deserve, so we will continue to find ways to support the budget.

The $4 million facility was completed in 2009. The state paid $2 million, half of the cost of construction, and the local community paid the other half. The communitys half included a loan for $850,000.

Engineering firm was StudioJAED, Bear. Construction firm was Nason Construction, Salisbury.

Keiser said that the library did not sustain any damage from the leaks, including any accumulation of mold.

In addition, no books got wet. But every time it rained, he said, water would seep in at the base of the walls, making the carpet wet.

We spent a lot of time sweeping up and vacuuming, he said.

The library hired Gardner Engineering, Columbia, Md., to determine why the building was leaking. Speaking by phone on Monday, company president Doug Gardner said that engineers examined the original blueprints of the library and the current topography and determined that the building elevation is lower than intended.

Gardner said that a patio at the back of the building was supposed to be lower than the library floor. There was supposed to be an 8-inch step-down onto the patio, he said. Instead, you just stepped out onto grade.

As a consequence, rainwater that accumulated on the patio ran right in, he said.

Workers have torn out the patio, as well as plants that were in the librarys yard. They are digging down around the building so that the ground is lower than the building elevation, and then installing drains and pipes so that water flows away from the building into the stormwater management pond next to the library parking lot. Even with the excavation, the pond is still the lowest point on the property, Gardner said.

Crews on the site have lost work days because of heavy rains the area has seen this summer. Gardner expects that the project will be completed this fall.

Jim Hutchinson, president and chief executive officer of StudioJAED, declined to comment on the situation. He said that his firm had not been contacted about the leaks.

Nason Construction did not return a request for comment.

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