OGDEN — Expanding the Weber County Main Library may be financially impossible, according to findings from a recent soil report.
The report revealed that the water table on the property is too high, Library Director Lynnda Wangsgard said.
It also shows that the soil itself is full of debris, probably left over from when the building was originally constructed in the late 1960s.
“The soil would need to be removed and the site prepared,” Wangsgard said, “which would be prohibitively expensive.”
If that is the case, the remaining options for the library are abandoning the downtown building for a new building at a different location or moving many support services to a different branch.
Wangsgard described the library building, which was built in 1968, as a bathtub. The building sits in the ground surrounded by a waterproof membrane.
That membrane has sprung leaks, causing the library to deal with a number of flooding issues, including inside the elevator shaft.
In addition to flooding, the building has an overtaxed electrical system as well a boiler that needs to be replaced next year.
Wangsgard said the library’s data center runs on a backup battery that is charged overnight when the library is closed.
In December 2011, the library experienced a small electrical fire. Such problems put a century of periodicals and other historical documents stored in the building at risk.
To compound the problems, the library has issues with asbestos that would be disturbed if anyone tried to fix the wiring.
“We really don’t want to abandon this building,” Wangsgard said. “It is a really wonderful building and an amazing piece of architecture.”
The board will discuss the request again at its meeting at 5 p.m. Sept. 18 in the Weber County Main Library Board Room, 2464 Jefferson Ave., Ogden.