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HVAC Project

Reasons for HVAC Project

Why does the library need a new HVAC system? 

  The library’s current HVAC system was installed when the new building was built and the old building remodeled in 1992 and it is showing its age.  The current system is a “two-pipe” system. In cold weather, hot glycol is pumped through the pipes to more than 100 fan coil units (FCUs) throughout the building. In warm weather, the same pipes pump cold glycol.  30+ years of switching between hot and cold has damaged the pipes and led to failures in multiple places throughout both buildings. These failures cause serious leaks and building damage.  The system has failed completely in the Museum Room on the second floor. A catastrophic pipe failure meant the Museum Room had to be closed in order to maintain climate control in the rest of the building. The Museum Room is normally used for programming and for local non-profit groups for meeting space. This room has been unavailable for use for more than a year now.  It is only a matter of time until there are more catastrophic failures.  Photo gallery below.  Click on the photos to see full descriptions.

The current system is not efficient.

  Given the age of the system, it is not energy efficient.  Turning on heat or air conditioning is a major thing. Once the system is at one or the other, it has to stay there until the season changes and we’re ready to switch. The “shoulder seasons” (spring/fall) are very tricky because we can have a series of hot days followed by a series of cold days and vice versa. But we can’t change whether the system is heating or cooling.  Each of the 100+ FCUs has a motor and thermostat, which use a lot of electricity.

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   Watertube boiler, original to 1992 building construction. The red and black burner on the right side of the photo was purchased after-market and retrofitted to our boiler around 2017/2018.

  Cold water pump (on the left), backup pump (middle, used for both cold and hot if one of them were to fail), hot water pump (right). These are the pumps that move the glycol/water throughout the piping system and are at end of life as well.

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The Fan Coil Units (FCUs) are an antiquated technology that cause issues.

  The FCUs will spontaneously leak both water and glycol. This has caused damage to the building, including leading to carpet replacement in some rooms.  Several of the FCUs no longer work and because they are no longer manufactured, they cannot be replaced.

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  Top and side views of fan coil unit piping and drain pan. Notice the rust and oxidization. These were discontinued from production in the early 1990's and we use over 100 of them to cool and heat our building.

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Visible carpet damage from one of the FCUs in the Audio/Visual Room on the Main Floor.

The current HVAC system has no humidity control.

  We have no way to regulate humidity levels in either building and the moisture level is often too high. This is dangerous for our building, our collections, and especially our local history collection. It can also lead to mold and mildew in the building. We have already had to deal with mold in our air ducts in the past.  The building currently has “negative air pressure.” This means the building is pulling in more air than it is exhausting. Negative building pressure causes even more humidity problems (you may notice the condensation on the library’s windows in summer) and drafts and air leaks throughout the building, causing our system to work harder to heat or cool.

  The library houses a large local history collection. This collection includes numerous unique irreplaceable pieces of DeWitt County history. We have everything from a New Testament printed in 1600 to a book written in by Abraham Lincoln to a Civil War battle flag to the personal histories of DeWitt County men and women who served our country in World War I. The community has entrusted the library with preserving and safeguarding these important links to our past and we take that responsibility seriously. The lack of good climate and humidity control puts these items are serious risk of deterioration.

 

  The new HVAC system will eliminate both the pipes and Fan Coil Units, leading to a much more efficient and safer system. It will also fix the library’s negative air pressure and humidity issues.

Reasons for HVAC Project

Maintaining Our Current Building

Why Is Maintaining Our Current Building Important?

  In our case, maintaining our current buildings is much less expensive than tearing down and building new.  The library, especially the original 1906 building, is one of the few historic public buildings left in our community and we feel it is important to our shared history to maintain it.

We are requiring that any designs for the HVAC project protect the historic integrity of both buildings.

Maintaining Our Current Building

Will My Taxes Go Up?

Where is the money coming from to pay for this project

and will my taxes go up?

  The library board has not considered and has no plans to consider raising taxes to pay for this project.  As a unit of local government, the library is prohibited, by law, from having “fiscal accumulations.” We cannot build up savings to pay for big projects, however for four years, the library was permitted to raise an extra tax called “Working Cash.” While not technically a savings account, this money sits in the library’s account as an emergency fund. We can use this fund to pay for the HVAC project, but the fund must be repaid over time. We are able to pay back this fund by being responsible and careful with our spending each year.

  We have several endowments that generous patrons have bequeathed to the library in our 116-year history. We have been able to invest those endowments and can use the interest to help pay for the project.

  We received a construction grant from the Illinois State Library in the amount of $125,000 for this project. We will be eligible to apply for another such grant in two years.

  The project will be completed in phases and the company managing the project is allowing the library to make payments rather than having to pay all at once. This will spread the cost of the project out over several years, which works better with the annual budget.

  Upgrading the HVAC system to a modern, energy-efficient system will save the library in gas and electric costs.

  We are using energy rebates from Ameren to help offset some of the costs. We are also able to fold in a lighting upgrade at the same time that will be no-cost to the library and will save money on our electric bill.

Will My Taxes Go Up?

Current Timeline

Timeline 

All dates below are tentative and subject to change as the design is finalized.

Please check our website for up-to-date information.

  Request for Proposal packages (a duct work package, an electrical package, etc.) will be posted on our website and in the Clinton Journal beginning in Fall/Winter 2024.  Construction will begin Spring 2025.  Bidding and project management will be handled by Entec and not directly by the library.  See the Bidding Information section below for current Request for Proposal packages.  The library will follow all legal requirements for government entities requesting bids.  Construction is expected to last four-six months.

Current Timeline

Will the Library Close?

  At this time, we anticipate remaining open during construction. We may have to restrict access to parts of the building for short lengths of time. This is all subject to change. Please check our website and social media for up-to-date information.

Will the Library Close?

Bidding Information

  Bidding and project management will be handled by Entec and not directly by the library.  The library will post links to all Request for Proposal packages here.

  There are no current Request for Proposal packages at this time.

Bidding Information
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