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Jeffco Library temporarily vacating substandard building

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By Vicky Gits

About 16 employees of the Jefferson County Public Library will be temporarily relocated to the south building of the Library Services Center in Wheat Ridge because the north building has been deemed below standard.

The north building will remain empty for about six months or until the problem is fixed, said Ann Cress, deputy executive director, at a regular meeting of the board of trustees Sept. 20 at the Lakewood Public Library. The buildings share a wall.

The north building’s roof may not be capable of bearing the load of a heavy snowfall and does not meet the current building code because of the way the walls were constructed, a consultant told library officials.

One option is to remove the second floor of the building, which is not being used.

“Essentially there are not enough roof supports to hold the snow load,” Cress said. “The code says you need 30 pounds per square foot, and we have only 12 pounds per square foot. That’s enough to hold about a foot of snow.”

The other issue is the second floor was put on after the initial framing and has masonry walls that are more rigid than the original frame. So the walls need more bracing. There is also a question whether the foundation is adequate to support the additional bracing and roof repair.

If the foundation needs work, it could cost roughly $100,000, Cress said. The rest of the repairs could cost from $200,000 to $400,000.

The complex was built in the 1950s; it was a furniture store before the library acquired it. The problem came to light after staff asked a consultant to examine the condition of the roof for possible replacement. 

Because of safety issues, library officials decided to vacate the space while they consult engineers for advice on bringing the structure up to code. The walls of the building are masonry, and the roof is metal. The employee move is expected to be completed by Oct. 15.

The Library Services Center, at 10500 W. 38th Ave. in Wheat Ridge, houses 35 employees, half in information technology and half in collections.

Collections is responsible for choosing, acquiring, cataloging, prepping and placing library materials into circulation, as well as weeding out and retiring old materials. Thousands of items are processed every year.

All but one of the IT employees will be moved into the south side of the building while the north side is being updated.

None of the employees will have to leave the building. They will share space in the other half with the rest of the employees. A floor plan has already been worked out.

 

Contact Vicky Gits at vicky@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22.