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Funds OK'd for York County Library repairs

The York County Library's main branch in Rock Hill is one step closer to getting a new roof, boiler, skylights and a slew of other repairs.

The York County Council has approved about $470,000 worth of repairs for the 30-year-old building, and library executive director Colleen Kaphengst is hopeful the work will be completed by late September.

"It's an aging building," she said. "A lot of these things have never been replaced. The boiler has not gone out on us, but it's 30 years old. It could go out at any time."

The new boiler is estimated to cost about $95,000.

Library and county staff are pursuing bids from roofing contractors, Kaphengst said. They estimate the roof will cost about $200,000.

The rest of the nearly $470,000 is for brickwork and sidewalk repairs, repaving the parking lot, a security gate on the building's chilling tower and doors on exterior fire stairwells.

The last few are necessary for either better security or the building's age, she said, and are all "things that have to be done to keep the building going."

Throughout the past few years, the library also has had to replace much 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.

On Tuesday, the library closed for part of the day due to an air conditioner malfunction.

Kaphengst told The Herald in April the building was originally "very well-built" and they've been lucky things have lasted as long as it has.

The building's superintendent had reported some minor leaks in the past year and an engineering company also found "stair-step cracks" in the 4-foot high parapets, part of the exterior brick work.

Mark Kettlewell, a York County engineer, said in April the cracks could indicate foundation settlement, which would require shoring up the foundation.

Kettlewell said they found some "good news" in recent reports from Raymond Engineering, the firm that investigated the building.

"There is no foundation settlement, which is very good," he said. "That'll save us on some costly repairs."

The cracks were caused by expansion joints that didn't extend correctly through both the exterior and interior walls.

Now that engineers know the cause of the cracks, Kettlewell said the next step will be to re-do the expansion joints to keep the parapet walls from moving again. If those parapets did move, it could cause the roofing membrane to crack, creating more leaks.

That's not something you want in a new roof, he said.

Before the roof replacement, Kettlewell said contractors will work first to repave the parking lot, do the repairs and replace the skylights, which are in poor shape due to degradation caused by sunlight.

"Our goal is to start construction by Aug. 8," he said.

Bids for the boiler will be sent out in September.

Kaphengst said the library has not yet determined days to close for construction.

"A lot of that will depend on when they can do the work on the roof," she said.

Information on any closings or changes in hours can be found on the library's website at yclibrary.org.

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