The York County Library's main branch in Rock Hill soon will get a facelift in the form of a new roof, new skylights and repairs to some brick work, depending on an upcoming investigation by Raymond Engineering.
Colleen Kaphengst, executive director, said the library is in the process of replacing the original roof to the 30-year-old building after the building's superintendent reported some minor leaks in the last fiscal year.
The library board included a bid for a roofing consultant in its current fiscal year, but a recent assessment by an engineering company revealed some "stair-step cracks" in the 4-foot high parapets, part of the exterior brick work.
"We don't feel it's a safety issue at this point," Kaphengst said.
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The stair-step cracks could be an indication of foundation settlement, said Mark Kettlewell, a York County engineer. The next step will be to perform two borings to determine what's underneath the building's foundation.
If it is settlement, then they will have to shore up the foundation, he said.
"The roofing membrane is attached to the parapet walls," he said. "If those parapet walls are moving, then that seal is broken. It leads the way to leaks in the roof. That's one thing we don't want in a new roof."
Kettlewell said they aren't sure yet why the parapet walls have moved, but they'll be studying the building's original construction drawings to see if it was built in accordance with the drawings.
Plans also include replacing the existing skylights, which he said are in poor shape due to UV degradation.
Depending on when the bids are placed, construction could begin this year.
Throughout the past few years, Kaphengst said the library slowly has had to replace a lot of the building's infrastructure, including part of the HVAC system and the chilling tower and air handling units for air conditioning, upgrade the elevator and repair broken sidewalks and walkways.
These repairs and upgrades, along with an estimate for a new roof, have cost about $500,000, not including fixing the brick work cracks.
A request for a new boiler - a $95,000 project - has been put in for the next fiscal year, which begins in July.
"When you have a building where everything is 30 years old, that's going to happen at some point," Kaphengst said. "Most of these things traditionally wouldn't last that long. It was originally a very well built building, and we've been extremely lucky."
The county has no plans for a new building. Several years ago, a bond issue proposing a new building in Rock Hill failed.
"At the same time, public libraries are vital to the community," Kaphengst said.
With the economic downturn, she said people are using the library more than ever.
"We're doing more with work force development and helping people find jobs, helping people do resumes and apply online for jobs as well as helping them get online to do their income tax forms," she said. "We're busy, which is a good problem to have. It's what we want to be."