On Monday night, the Lansdale Library Committee unanimously recommended to Lansdale council the purchase and installation of a roof access hatch and ladder, estimated between $2,900 and $3,400.
"Obviously, we have that money in our budget for building improvements," said Councilwoman Mary Fuller, who chairs the library committee.
Library Director Tom Meyer said Monday that the addition of a roof hatch was recommended in a Spiezle Architects Lansdale facilities study. Now, any access to the library's roof is done via climbing an extension ladder propped against an outside wall—and even that can be unsafe on snow-covered ground.
Meyer said it was an estimated $1,400 to $1,500 for a roof hatch alone, sans ladder. The installation of a permanent ladder to the exterior wall of the library was estimated at about $3,000, Meyer said.
Meyer said the hatch would be installed in the ceiling area of a back hallway used by staff.
"It will allow HVAC technicians to get up there a lot easier, keep things running better. This winter, the heater went out. With the weather so bad, he couldn't get up there until recently. It was just broken belt, but it was down for three to four months," Meyer said.
He said a report on the integrity of the roof showed there is a lot more that could be done.
"(The roof had) snow melt coming in," Meyer said, "where the new addition and old building together. It's when snow sat there and melted when dripping in. It's not so bad when it's raining."
A full roof replacement is estimated at $200,000. A restoration of the roof is a bit lower estimate: $75,000. The estimates came from roofing repair firm The Garland Co.
Councilman Steve Malagari, who sits on the library committee, said it may be worth replacing the whole roof, depending on the extent of damages, say if damage was more than half of the roof.
Meyer said the roof restoration is guaranteed for 10 years.
"The front addition roof had a warranty for 15 years," Meyer said. "That warranty is up. It doesn't mean the roof is bad; it means the warranty is up."
Meyer said they could get more estimates for the roof replacement/restoration. Malagari pointed out there are many spots in the roof that are punctured, with insulation showing through.
"This was the first one. We could go get more. We had done this just for repairs a few years ago, and we had a wide range of estimates, from a couple thousand (dollars) to a hundred thousand (dollars)," Meyer said.
Meyer said the committee should not wait on the hatch until after the repair or replacement of the roof.
"We're going to have people doing estimates, and this is pretty reasonable for that hatch. Get the hatch in, and that way, people coming out can get to the roof," Meyer said.
Councilman Rich DiGregorio said "it sounded like a lot of fundraisers to me."
"A lot of car washing," he said.
"A lot of trivia," said Fuller.
DiGregorio said there could be a possibility of grant funding available through the Montgomery County library system. Malagari said Lansdale Library is not part of the county library system, the Montgomery County Library and Information Network Consortium.
"Maybe there's a grant," Malagari said.
"Worst case they say no," DiGregorio said.
Meyer said The Garland Co.'s initial estimation found an old tin ceiling above a drop ceiling in the library. And tin means money.
"They said one thing you can do to make money is sell that tin ceiling," Meyer said. "There are places that will come in and salvage that for reuse."