Recently the Montrose Regional Library District completed a facilities assessment. An outside firm that specializes in assessing the condition of buildings came in and went over the Montrose Regional Library and the Naturita Community Library in order to let us know what kind of maintenance issues we can expect to face over the next 10 years. The Montrose Regional Library is 21 years old and the Naturita Community Library is 10. Although we have been as diligent as possible in maintaining our buildings and equipment, things don’t last forever.

Maintenance is something the board of trustees and the director talk about frequently, and it figures very prominently in our plans.

One of the most expensive items identified by the assessment as a critical, near term item, is the roof of the library in Montrose. I go up on the roof fairly regularly and I talk to our facilities supervisor, Joe Costello, so I wasn’t the least bit surprised by this conclusion. I also relayed this information to the board. Its members weren’t surprised either. In fact, the board and I have been planning for a roof replacement for several years. It was one of the things that triggered the facility assessment, the need to know just how long the roof had left and what other items we should plan to replace or repair in the next five to 10 years. The board is typically looking out and planning over at least a five-year window. That’s the timeframe the library district’s strategic plan covers.

Thinking ahead led to the district asking the voters for a small increase in our mill levy a couple of years ago. We knew we would need the funds for these more expensive items. Although we have been saving, the recession hit our reserves hard and we knew we couldn’t provide the programming our customers were demanding while keeping up with maintenance.

Other immediate issues identified in Montrose ranged from replacing the two thirds of the carpeting that hasn’t yet been replaced, resetting a flagstone walkway from one of the emergency exits, replacing mortar in the rooftop parapets, and sandblasting and repainting the exterior emergency exit stairs. The district was ahead of this last one as we already had estimates and contractors picked for doing those stairs. Joe has also gotten about three-fourths of the parapets on the Montrose Regional Library mortared since we received the report.

In Naturita, the report identified a portion of duct work that had come loose and has already been reconnected, a concrete patio used for programming that needs to be repaired or replaced, exterior woodwork that needs to be resealed, an exterior gutter and drain that needs heat tape, and the need for a bike rack to prevent dings in the exterior of the building. The bike rack is being picked out and ordered and the gutter installer has been contacted about the heat tape. We are also searching for a concrete installer in Naturita.

Rest assured the board and administration of the Library District take maintaining your investment in library facilities very seriously. We are refining our plan to cover the identified facility needs over the next five years and will be incorporating it into the strategic plan. As I mentioned, the roof was in the current strategic plan. The board and director are always thinking of and carefully planning for the future of the Montrose Regional Library District. Speaking of the future, in my next column I will have some exciting news about new things coming this fall. Stay tuned ...

Paul Paladino is the director of the Montrose Regional Library District.

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