SUPERIOR – The city is taking the first step to preserve the historic Carnegie Library at 1204 Hammond Ave.
In a 7-3 vote on Tuesday, Nov. 1, councilors approved a $275,000 offer from Stack Bros. Mechanical Contractors for temporary building roof repair.
The company originally submitted a proposal to remove and replace the roof substrate, replace deficient wood rafters and patch holes in the existing soffit at a cost of $525,000. However, this was beyond the city’s budget for the project and could have harmed the historic integrity of the building by removing elements that make the library unique.
“Obviously it didn’t go to plan… doing a full roof replacement would have been a very involved intrusion of historic elements and would have required a bit more restoration than we were prepared to do at this point,” said Mayor Jim Paine. “The goal was to prevent water intrusion.”
Instead, the contractor will install a membrane of EPDM rubber roofing material over the existing roof, according to Jason Serck, director of economic development, port and planning.
The challenge for the contractor is that the roof of the library was redone in 1960 or 1970, but the old roof was not removed until a new roof was put on top. Serck said the contractors informed officials that historic elements of the building could be damaged if the new roof is removed.
Covering the existing roof with the membrane will seal it from the weather.
“It does the job; it protects the building,” Paine said.
“What I see in there is another band-aid,” Councilor Mark Johnson said, asking how long the repair would last.
Serck said project subcontractor AW Kettel said the membrane would last about 20 years and offered to inspect the building annually. However, Serck advised advisers that contractors were unlikely to provide a guarantee.
“It kind of leaves us in the same place,” Councilman Brent Fennessey said. “We still have one building left that needs a roof. Hopefully it will stay dry, but there are no guarantees…it’s not a permanent solution.”
Fennessey asked if it would be more cost effective to just tarp the roof.
The mayor said that at a cost of $40,000 to $50,000 to tarp the building, which might not last more than a year or two, the membrane is the most cost-effective option. Although the membrane is expensive, Paine said it was the most flexible option to protect the building and retain the possibility of historic restoration.
Councilors Nicholas Ledin, Jenny Van Sickle, Warren Bender, Tylor Elm, Ruth Ludwig, Mike Herrick and Lindsey Graskey voted in favor of the plan.
Councilors Jack Sweeney, Fennessey and Johnson voted against the proposal, but did not request a roll-call vote for their objection to be recorded.