Supervisors in early stages of library roof repair plans

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors Tuesday began theinitial phases of a project to replace the majority of the roof ofthe Lincoln-Lawrence-Franklin Regional Library.

The county’s engineering firm, Dungan Engineering, PA, iscurrently reviewing the building’s blueprints to determine the bestapproach and materials needed to replace the roof over the oldportion of the library, which has not been re-roofed in quite sometime.

“I can’t even remember exactly how old the roof is,” saidLibrary Director Henry Ledet. “It was probably installed inthe1970s. It’s past its warranty and I think it had a 30-yearwarranty.”

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The roof has undergone constant repairs over the years, and eachrepair only begins a deteriorating process that necessitatesanother repair almost immediately.

“Every time we patch one leak, another appears,” Ledet said.”And every time it rains we’ve had to call for repairs. In the last10 years it’s probably been repaired at least once a month. It’sgotten to the point that when you walk on it to fix it, youprobably end up causing another leak.”

The leaks have presented unending problems for the librarystaff, as they race around the building before and during rainstorms trying to protect books, electronics and historicalmaterials from leaks that could spring up anywhere.

“We’ve had to move computers away from drips and our archivalmaterials had to be moved several times because drips haddeveloped,” Ledet said. “These archival materials are things thatare irreplaceable. Fortunately, we’ve been able to stay on top ofit.

“We’ve not lost anything yet, but it’s just a matter of time,”he said. “The roof has to be fixed.”

The library roof is an EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer),or rubber roof, a single-ply material covered with small rocks forballast. EPDM roofs first appeared during the 1960s, and thelibrary’s roof shows that age.

“There’s a lot of leaks,” said Dungan Project Manager StevenSowell, who inspected the damaged roof on a tour led by countyofficials. “The water has leaked down through the roof and damagedthe hanging ceiling on the inside of the library. There’s leaks allover different spots in there.”

Sowell said patch and repair work was out of the question. He isrecommending full roof replacement with different materials. Thecompany will match the new roof with the roof over the newestportion of the library, a wing addition constructed in 2001.

The project is still too young for a monetary value to even beguessed at, and the payment options are unclear as well.

Lincoln County Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop said the method ofpaying for the roof work will depend on the cost, whether it bethrough federal grant or other means.

Ledet believes the job will cost handsomely, but will be worthevery penny.

“No one has mentioned price, but it’s probably going to be realexpensive,” Ledet said.

Ledet said supervisors have always been supportive and takegreat care of the library.

“The library is a great building and a real asset for ourcommunity,” Ledet said. “We’re helping people learn, developingcomputer skills – something very important to the economic healthof our community.”