Crookston Public Library leaks a concern during budget talk

Jess Bengtson
Crookston Times

    During discussions on the Crookston Public Library’s preliminary 2022 budget and five-year capital improvement plan it was revealed that windows on the roof of the library building have such severe leaks that the last time it rained, water was pouring from the ceiling onto books, computers and the carpet. City Council and staff heard from Library Director Chris Boike about not only the window issues, but also the roof and other areas where water pools making it seem like the almost 40-year old building has design flaws.

    In the library’s five-year CIP (capital improvement plan), they’re looking to do some outdoor lighting additions and window replacements in 2022 plus, down the road over the next few years, a full roof replacement and HVAC (heating/ventilation/air conditioning) replacement with the five-year total adding up to approximately $190,263.

    Being as this is yet another city building showing the need for quick repair, City Administrator Amy Finch told the council it needs to be a priority.

    “Every time you defer a repair it will cost you more,” Finch explained. “I’m seeing a pattern of that. We are talking about inoperable lift stations and water pouring in our library. We wouldn’t have to look at so much at a time if our buildings were a priority.”

    Boike detailed the “band-aid” repairs that have been done on the leaky windows and reminded the council that the interior remodel just recently wrapped up making the water issue even more of a concern. She also believes there are underlying issues due to where the building was placed and settling, plus how it was designed.

    “We have a major stain that’s starting to appear on the beams and it’s starting to show the effects of these leaks,” added Boike. “It will (also) be a problem if we don’t address it.”

    Ward 5 council member Joe Kresl told Boike and the other council members that he’s not a fan of skylights and wondered if they could take them out and replace with a shingled roof to make it safer. Boike said that she has had a contractor look at the roof and was told it would be a “major redo.” Ward 3 council member Clayton Briggs, who sits on the library board, said there were issues on the roof in the last couple of years due to improper flashing and large amounts of snow had to be removed.

    Later, Ward 2 council member Steve Erickson wondered if they put money into fixing the building if they would run into more issues and would a fix make sense or possibly building something new.

    Finch suggested a phased approach with contractors’ assistance and then they could come back to the council with a potential plan if there was one. Boike said she’s not sure if a major redesign of the roof is even a possibility, but knows the problem exists and is getting worse.

Chris Boike speaks at the City Council Ways & Means Special Meeting August 30