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Maintenance issues emerge at Riverton Branch Library
Drainage problems in the parking lot at the Riverton Branch Library would be costly to address. The library opened in 1983. Photo by Wayne Nicholls

Maintenance issues emerge at Riverton Branch Library

Jan 23, 2014 - By Kelli Ameling, Staff Writer

The Fremont County Library Systems board of trustees is looking at ways to fund a maintenance issue concerning a drainage issue at the Riverton Branch Library.

After receiving a report from Jeff Young, engineer for Trihydro, the board discussed possibly making a multi-year master plan to fix a number of problems at the facility, which opened in 1983.

Water worries

Drainage was the main issue causing a number of problems at the library, according to Young. He said he doesn't know how the underground drainage is working at the facility, what type of soil is layered behind the retaining walls, how deep the ground water near the facility is, and much more.

Young said he did not survey anything, and he is only in the very preliminary stages on many of his notes. He also said his notes were based on an engineer's view, and they did not have a "creative view" of an architect.

Young said the current library structure has a drainage strips going around the building, lying close to the structure, but their condition is unknown.

"It's probably at the end of its life," Young said. "We don't know the condition of it, and we need to figure out what the ground water is doing."

Young said the strips could be saving the building, but could also be drawing ground water to the building and hindering the structure in the end.

Retaining wall

The drainage issues are causing problems to the structure of the building and parking lot.

One problem Young saw was that the retaining wall was saturated with water, which meant water was building up behind the wall.

"It takes a lot to do that," Young said.

Tom Norwood, libraries maintenance director for the county, said the design of the roof could be adding to the buildup behind the retaining walls.

Water in the parking lot also is causing an issue, as ice has built up during the winter season.

Norwood noted asphalt already is 10 years older than most asphalt parking usually last.

Young drains would need to be put in place to extend the life of the asphalt.

"Drains would reduce the overall flow and ice," Young said, noting an area on the property were the drains could lead to, creating a pond in the spring and summer seasons.

Norwood and Young discussed whether the full parking lot needs to be replaced now or later.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance," Norwood said. "We should attack it while going through the process."

However, because of funding concerns, Norwood said the best option would be to repair only the major problem areas.

Fremont County Libraries director Tracy Cook said the Riverton library still is experiencing drainage issues inside the building as well.

"Yes, we still have a problem with water from the roof leaking into the building," Cook said.

Heavy snow and/or rain causes leaks in the building.

"This causes damage to the ceiling and the interior beams, and can also damage books, computers or any other items that might be in the path of the water," Cook said. "Staff do their best to protect items that are in the path of the water by covering them or using track cans to catch water."

Funding

After discussion on how to fund such a huge project, Young suggested setting up a master plan to prioritize repairs.

"It would be a clear and straightforward path to solve the problems," Young said.

The library board looked to Commissioner Stephanie Kessler to help devise the best way to present information to the Fremont County Commission in hopes of getting funding.

"I don't know," she said. "I would suggest to keep going down (the master plan) path. I don't think commissioners are aware of the project."

The board decided to have Young determine how much a master plan would cost, and members plan to communicate with the County Treasurer Scott Harnsberger to help stay on the right track financially.

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