I have enjoyed the challenge of serving on the Weber County Library Board of Trustees during the time the Pleasant Valley Branch was constructed and opened, and while a five-year capital improvement plan was developed to address problems of aging buildings.
Of particular concern is the 45-year-old main library. The maintenance staff has taken such excellent care of this community icon most people don't realize how old it really is. Two years ago, they completely refurbished the soffit, saving almost $100,000 over the cost of having the work done by contractors, which is typical of the maintenance team's expertise and dedication.
The board has published images of electrical boxes, singed by the heat from shorting wires; rotting cast-iron sewer pipes; and corroded supply lines caused not by unattended leaks, but by decades of natural condensation. These images illustrate the laudatory dedication of a maintenance team that has been able to keep these original systems functioning for so long.
The Utah Heritage Society agrees. In 2004, they presented the board with their "Stewardship Award," for the quality of the "long-term cleaning, maintenance, and restoration designed to preserve the library's original specifications and luster."
As part of a two-year planning process, a feasibility study team, including multiple architects, engineers, a premier Ogden construction company, and a construction cost-control company, evaluated the main library. The team told the board, "The structure itself is in remarkable condition. Library staff . . . should be commended for the outstanding care and respect they've extended since the building's initial construction.... The focus now needs to be on extending the building life for another 40 years.... To achieve this, all new mechanical, electrical, data, communications, plumbing, fire protection, and site infrastructure will be necessary." The team also noted at least $1,000,000 can be saved by upgrading the existing main library rather than building a new library of similar size and quality.
The future of our libraries is in our hands. Please join me in voting "yes" for the Weber County Library bonds.