Chesterton Tribune



Westchester Library eyes building improvements

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Some improvements may be coming to Westchester Public Library.

Library Director Lisa Stamm told the Library Board at its meeting Thursday that she’s interested in obtaining an additional appropriation from WPL’s Library Improvement Reserve Fund (LIRF) to do some upgrades.

On her list are: new sidewalks around the Thomas Branch, a new patio at the Baugher Center, new staff entry doors at the Thomas Branch, new materials security gates at both branches, and new shelving for audio-visual and paperback materials at both branches.

Stamm reported she has been working with the Library’s maintenance manager to assess the state of the concrete patio at the Baugher Center and the Thomas sidewalks.

According to Stamm, the patio concrete is sinking and cracking excessively, and Interim Director Phil Baugher got a price for replacing it early last year before she was hired. The work is estimated to cost $24,000 to $30,000 and take five to seven business days to complete.

Stamm said the three tables on the patio are in good condition and would be refinished by the maintenance team, then reinstalled.

Baugher also priced sidewalk replacement around the Thomas Branch at that time, as the sidewalks are uneven and pose trip hazards. The cost of that project was estimated at $10,000 to $15,000.

As for the other improvements on her list, Stamm said the audio-visual department has been in want, and need, of new shelving for months. The Thomas Branch materials security gates need an upgrade, and Hageman doesn’t currently have security gates. The staff entry doors at Thomas could be more secure, as they’re made of glass.

Board Vice-president Mike Livovich asked if the Town of Chesterton might be responsible for the sidewalks.

Board Attorney Terry Hiestand said the sidewalks are in the Town’s right-of-way. He suggested Stamm contact Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg to see if the Town might partner on the upgrade.

Stamm said she would move forward on working with maintenance to determine pricing and timeframes for the work.

In other business, Stamm reported the Library is saving on trash removal at the Thomas Branch after the maintenance manager noticed that the Library’s contract with Republic Services has an automatic renewal clause and has ballooned up from $94 a month in 2008 to $375 a month this year. The increase also didn’t align with the cost of trash removal for the Baugher Center being only $88 a month.

Stamm said she negotiated the cost down to $198 per month for the Thomas Branch and nixed the auto-renew clause. The total cost of trash removal for the Baugher Center and Thomas is now $286 per month instead of $463, which will save the Library $2,124 per year.

The severe cold and subsequent snow melt Duneland experienced at the end of January caused roof leaks at the Thomas Branch. Stamm reported the roof was replaced in 2009 with a 30-year warranty from E.C. Babilla. They have since come out and assessed that the damage was likely a one-time issue due to extreme temperatures. The leaks were repaired and covered under the warranty.

In February, 27,266 people visited the Library, and WPL presented 93 programs that has 1,839 attendees. 343 people used Library meeting rooms.


Posted 3/18/2019




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