“Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.” Macbeth, Act IV, Scene I
The aging infrastructure of Shaker Library’s Main facility was quite noticeable to staff and public alike Tuesday, January 19, when the building was opened following the MLK Day holiday. The touble? No fire burn, and cauldron bubble! The 23-year-old, dual-boiler system had stopped working sometime between closing on Sunday and opening on Tuesday. Interior temperatures had fallen below 50 degrees, as it was quite frigid outside that day. While the boilers were eventually restarted, it was taking too long to heat the building so it was necessary to close for the health and comfort of all.
Despite that setback, excellent progress was made during the month with the installation of new HVAC controls throughout the building. The expected completion date for the entire project is early February. The new system is web accessible, providing staff the ability to monitor and adjust temperatures on a room-by-room or area-by-area basis.
No matter how great the controls, however, they are only as good as the boilers and air conditioning system units to which they are connected! The actual replacement of the controls system was recommended in the Facilities Assessment and Maintenance Master Plan prepared by HBM Architects and presented to the library in April 2014. We are on schedule with the maintenance timeline in terms of installing the new “building automation system” slated for 2016. In fact, we are actually ahead of schedule because the current project also includes replacement of VAV boxes—Variable Air Volume devices—that keep each thermostatically controlled room or area at the desired level of heating or cooling, which were listed to be done in 2017.
Another bit of good news is that the cost of the current controls project will be well under $120,000, which compares quite favorably to the scheduled estimate of more than $300,000! Nonetheless, Shaker Library still faces facility and maintenance costs approaching $4 million at the Main Library and $1 million at the Bertram Woods Branch over the next 10 years, including nearly a half million dollars to replace the boilers and the chiller at their end of life in 2019!
In light of the survey last summer that measured the attitudes of residents about Shaker Library, the Library Board will continue its strategic planning efforts to provide the best service for the community. The Library hired the R Strategy Group to assist in its efforts to inform the public of the need for long-term improvements. Secondly, the Board will look at a variety of options for enhancing facilities and services with the bottom line of maximizing the use of tax dollars.
Luren E. Dickinson, Director