Library mitigation project will cost $300K, take three months to complete
BY KARISSA MILLER
The Iredell County Board of Commissioners has signed off on a plan to spend $300,000 to prevent chemical vapors linked to cancer from seeping into the children’s area of the Iredell County Public Library.
The project is expected to be completed by April.
The lower level of the library, located at 201 North Tradd Street in Statesville, was sealed off eight months ago as a precaution after small amounts of a harmful dry-cleaning chemical vapor, Perchloroethylene (PCE), were detected in the children’s area.
In October, county staff along with representatives from the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ), presented commissioners with an update of the library’s mitigation plan.
The scope of NCDEQ’s work was to assess the environmental conditions of the library through testing and evaluation of the site and building.
The project team presented steps to mitigate and reopen the first floor of the library building. One of those steps was a recommendation to install a vapor barrier application product known as Retro Coat on the lower level as a precautionary measure.
NCDEQ officials have determined Retro Coat to be the only product available that will provide protection needed for the library project.
At the Board of Commissioners' October meeting, County Manager Beth Jones told commissioners that the county had funds available in the Capital Improvement Plan budget to cover the cost of the mitigation efforts.
Commissioners, however, expressed concerns about the “bottom line” and delayed acting on the staff’s recommendation. Commissioners asked for staff to bring back a budget that reflected “actual costs” or bids.
On Dec. 18, county officials presented an updated $300,000 mitigation plan to commissioners.
Project Manager David Saleeby said that work would likely begin in January and take three months to complete.
Saleeby shared some of the steps involved in the project:
► First, he said, is “preparing the public area for the Retro Coat for the mitigation work, which is above the concrete slab and wall.”
► Next, the vapor barrier, which is a specialized product, will be purchased.
► The budget also includes paying for third party testing. This is for the supervision and testing of the Retro Coat application.
► The project will include floor covering, as well as furniture and adding cabinetry and checkout counters that were located downstairs but had to be taken out and removed from the library.
► Finally, the children’s activity area will be moved to a spot in the library where there was no reading or detection of the dry-cleaning chemical vapor, Saleeby explained.
The public has been asking about the children’s department, and when will it open.
“They really love that area and want to utilize it again,” Jones said.
The county manager reminded commissioners that the library has remained open the entire time and involved staff consolidating collections from three levels into two.
During their regular meeting, commissioners voted unanimously to approve the estimated $300,000 mitigation plan and budget.
“The purpose of this is to provide complete assurance to patrons and staff who visit the library,” Commissioner Chairman James Mallory said.
“I think this is a necessity to make this building functional again,” Commissioner Jeff McNeely said.
BY THE NUMBERS: Library Mitigation Project Budget