Greenburgh Seeks Solutions To Library's Problems

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The children's room at the Greenburgh Public Library remained closed Tuesday from water damage. The Town Board concluded the library's issues need more than a quick-fix. Photo Credit: Samantha Kramer

UPDATED 3:40 GREENBURGH, N.Y. — The Greenburgh Town Board is examining permanent solutions to the library's problems after structural issues forced the building to close several times and brought in the Fire Department twice in two days.

The Greenburgh Public Library hasn't been open for a full day ever since Jan. 23, after its crippled heating system couldn't warm the building against below-20 degree weather on Jan. 24. Flooding issues followed the heating problems when sprinklers unexpectedly went off Sunday and Monday, sounding the fire alarm and bringing Fairview Fire Department to the scene.

A lawsuit against the contractors is not off the table, the board concluded at Tuesday's work session meeting.

"I think we're all concerned about some of the problems that have been occurring at the library, because the building is not that old," Town Attorney Tim Lewis said. "We are exploring whether we're going to need to take legal action, and we are definitely taking steps to see how we can solve the issue."

Because insurance most likely will not cover the cost of the repairs, Town Supervisor Paul Feiner asked for a log of all the days the library has had to close due to heating and air conditioning problems over the course of the four years it's been in operation.

"When we're speaking to the contractors [Triton Construction] and the architects we can say, 'This is the cost that we've had,'" Feiner said. "I feel it's important that we hold the people who built the library accountable."

Nick Andreadis, chief executive officer of Triton Construction, said the mechanical and plumbing contractors, hired separately by the town, issue one-year warranties under their contracts and are not responsible for problems that occur outside of the year, he explained.

Additionally, he said, it's difficult to offer help when neither Triton Construction nor the board knows exactly what it is that's causing the problems.

"I would imagine if it was an ongoing thing, we would have heard about it," said Andreadis, adding that it was the first time he's heard about the problems. "Four years — that's a long time. If there was a problem brewing that the library's struggling with, there would be plenty of time to address it."

An engineer who was brought in to examine the building in September 2011 had said the library required additional research rather than just a general overview, said Public Works Commissioner Victor Carosi, but the board did not choose to look further into it because of expenses. Carosi suggested bringing in a consultant again to look into the current problems.

"This will, at some point or another, require the town to put additional funds into the library," Carosi said. "It may mean a lawsuit, it may mean contracting, it may mean consulting. We need that time now to put all the information together."

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Comments (4)

halmarc45:

Just like "where is this in Greenburgh", "pet of the week", this week's "open house" or "what to do this weekend", apparently The Daily Voice is starting a new feature for Greenburgh readers: "Create Your Own Mix Tape" in which readers suggest song titles appropriate to the article.

Here's three song titles that come readily to mind: Add your own! And choose whom you want to record your selection. This week's artist lineup includes Nick Andreadis, CEO of Triton Construction; Town Attorney, Tim Lewis or DPW Commissioner, Vincent Carosi!

"Who Do You Love"

"I Heard It Through the Grapevine"

"Good Things Don't Last Forever"

"Additionally, he (Andreadis) said, it's difficult to offer help when neither Triton Construction nor the board knows exactly what it is that's causing the problems.

"I would imagine if it was an ongoing thing, we would have heard about it," said
Andreadis, adding that it was the first time he's heard about the problems. "Four years — that's a long time. If there was a problem brewing that the library's struggling with, there would be plenty of time to address it."

WPEyesNEars:

Feiner said he wants to implement a backup heating system to prevent the ongoing problems. The board will consider a new boiler or geothermal solutions, he said, adding that a boiler would cost somewhere between $50,000 to $100,000.

We didn't have any money for the library to purchase BOOKS this past year, which is the primary purpose of a library, but now there is no problem finding and spending another $100K on top of the $20M+ we already spent on this building. Something’s not right here.

halmarc45:

Consider that the original boiler (per Triton's project construction estimate) cost $450,000; perhaps the $50,00-$100,000 figure is from those wonderful folks who brought you the $43,500 Phase II Enviro study for Frank's whereby $43,500 was code for $110,000+ or, the Ferncliff Lease for the WESTHelp property first appeared as $980,000; now for your consideration written down to $530,000.

How much is 1 + 1? The correct Greenburgh Town Board answer is "whatever you want it to be".

Note that the Greenburgh Town Board is an equal opportunity distorter of the truth; it does not discriminate against numbers which are free to move higher or lower depending on the circumstances or need. They can even completely disappear as is the case with "$5 million for Greenburgh".

halmarc45:

For once I have to admit that I have no problem with Ms. Kramer's coverage of this story.

That said I would not be true to my school were I not to expand on one minor point. Citing the outdoor temperature does not justify or characterize what the inside temperature is. Even a building without a boiler or any heat retention would not match what reigns outside. The Library did not close because it was below 20 degrees inside. It closed because the temperature fell below set comfort level standards: a decision which I don't fault. I am merely seeking to neutralize any impression that it closed because it was below freezing.

The problem was that the new boiler partnered with the geothermal heat exchange was unable to maintain these comfort levels. Which may or may not have had anything to do with the sprinklers going off.

And, adding to the troubles, is that single plate glass curtain walls are not famous for their part in maintaining climate control.

The Town Board needs to learn the extent of deviation from the original plans under the mantle of keeping the project "on budget" and this done for political reasons rather than preserving the integrity of the structure and its mechanics. Would it surprise anyone to learn that of the $20 million construction budget, a whopping near $4 million was allocated to various "contingency" reserves -- all of which were drawn down despite the concurrent cost-cutting aka "value engineering."

Hal Samis

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