Library getting new roof
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 11/16/06

BY LARRY HIGGS
COASTAL MONMOUTH BUREAU

RED BANK When the roof leaks, you have to fix it.

Especially when the interior of the building is being renovated. The Borough Council unanimously approved a $102,000 change order on Monday to replace the roof while the library is being renovated, in addition to three other items to be covered by that expenditure.

"It makes sense to do it now while the contractor is mobilized," Borough Administrator Stanley Sickels said. "When it rained, it leaked. We're putting new finishes inside the building. Do you want leaks to ruin it?"

The change order with Santorini Construction of Neptune will replace the 40-year-old roof, move a drain line to install an elevator for handicapped access to the second floor, replace an older fire alarm system, install new water pipes and renovate exterior woodwork and trim on the historic Eisner home portion of the library. It also pays to install barrier-free hardware on older doors, Sickels said.

The library has been closed since October for an estimated three to four weeks while it undergoes an extreme makeover.

The then-$1.6 million project started in June and is funded with $1.2 million from the borough, $40,000 of which is financed with a state grant and a mix of federal grants, private donations and fundraising. The library also has a $200,000 gift from the estate of Avice M. Noblett, a former assistant librarian who died in 1997, to make over the children's room, which will be renamed for her, said Deborah Griffin-Sadel, library director.

About $31,000 of the change order will be financed by the library, through maintenance funds and a bequest, Sickels said.

When it is completed in early 2007, the building will be barrier-free for disabled patrons and should satisfy the last requirements the borough must fulfill under an October 2002 settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice that required it to bring public facilities in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. That act requires public buildings to be barrier-free and accessible to all citizens.

Under the plan, additional space on the second floor of the 1857 Eisner family house and the family living room will be open to the public for the first time. The living room will be restored to house the library's New Jersey historic collection.

The settlement is the result of a federal lawsuit brought by Carolyn Schwebel of Middletown. Schwebel's complaint was about the number of handicapped parking spaces and crosswalk paving stones, but the Justice Department launched a full investigation into access issues at Red Bank buildings and facilities.