Old library accessibility project nears end, but schedule slips

The project to restore the center entrance to the old library and make that entrance accessible, due to be completed June 1, is now scheduled for completion July 15. At an Old Library Accessibility Committee meeting May 7, members said the contractor, Rinaldi, Inc., is responsible for the delay. Chair Lucy Wallace said the delay will not have any effect on the budget.

One of the culprits being blamed for the slip is the granite steps. Committee member Pete Jackson said the dimensions of each step could not be determined until work was complete on the facing walls, and that work took longer than expected. The steps have finally been ordered, but their installation is a gating factor for the ramp, walkway, and railings. Ramp work is scheduled to begin in mid-June, and the concrete walkway will be installed about a week later.

In addition to the outside hardscaping and landscaping, work remains to be done on the side porch, which served as the entrance to the building after a 1983 renovation. The contractor said the brick arches over the windows on the side porch were damaged when the old windows were installed, and that damage needs to be repaired before the new windows can go in. New windows were delivered earlier this week and are scheduled to go in next week; carpeting will be installed in the porch area soon afterward.

Sadly, the tile in the building’s original entryway, which the committee hoped to keep, is not salvageable. Jackson said nearly half the tiles are damaged, and the floor sags toward the center, which will require taking up all the tiles and repairing the subfloor. Members agreed to replace the existing tile with granite tiles to carry the look of the granite landing into the entryway.

Interior passes inspection

Except for the entryway, most of the work inside the main building is done. Building Commissioner Gabe Vellante inspected that work last week, and it passed with a few minor glitches. Vellante said the old signs on the bathroom doors, which include braille, were placed too high for the braille portion to be usable. Jackson said removing the signs would damage the doors, so new signs will be installed beside the doors at the proper height. Vellante also requested replacing the doorknob on the nonhandicapped accessible bathroom with a lever. His inspection paves the way for a temporary certificate of occupancy (TCO), which should be available this week.

The TCO will allow Fivesparks, the building’s tenant, to start preparing for its reopening in July. The building has already been professionally cleaned as part of Rinaldi’s contract, but the walls need to be repaired and repainted because of water damage from the leaky roof.

At Town Meeting May 4, and at the ballot box May 7, the town approved $480,000 to replace the leaky slate roof. But that project is likely at least a year away, and Fivesparks would like to repaint the peeling walls so the building looks as good as possible when it reopens.

A temporary roof repair was completed last week. Jackson told the committee he had checked a wall where he had previously seen water, and that even after a heavy rain, the wall was dry. But that fix is temporary, and until the walls are repainted, it’s hard to tell whether the repair has stopped all the leaks.

Fivesparks representatives met with town officials May 7 to hash out who should be responsible for fixing interior damage caused by a faulty building exterior. Wallace brought the result of that meeting to the Select Board at its meeting later the same day. She explained that the participants agreed Fivesparks would repair and repaint the walls before the old library reopens, and any funds spent on that effort would be credited toward the group’s rent.

But if leaks damage the walls again before the roof is replaced, Fivesparks will be responsible for all costs to repair and repaint them. The board voted unanimously to approve the plan, which will be captured in a memo of understanding between the Select Board and Fivesparks.

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