The Snohomish Carnegie Library Building is closed to the public indefinitely due to safety concerns.
City staff took the action April 5 after learning from contractors that the leaky roof of the 1968 annex addition was worse than expected. Leaks have caused puddles on the concrete floor. It is also possible that water may have seeped through light ballasts, and into electrical conduit. A layer of water-saturated roofing is acting like a sponge. Fixing the roof and related electrical hazards will require substantially more work than the city had planned.
“We don’t know how profound the problem is,” City Manager Larry Bauman said. Roofers were expected to bid on simply adding a new layer of roofing material to fix chronic leaks. Instead, a full replacement and structural repairs could cost $50,000 to $100,000, Bauman said.
The city had planned make improvements to the annex roof, install a wheelchair lift, and improve stairs this year to maintain access and use of the building. However, those projects are now suspended, Bauman said. The building is closed to the public until the city decides how to address the new costs and safety concerns.
The Carnegie Building is used for community and city meetings. Groups that regularly use the building have been notified of the closure. The leaky annex provides the main entrance and bathrooms for the entire building.
A master plan for restoring the historic building calls for the 1968 annex to be completely removed and replaced.
That construction project had an estimated $3.3 million price tag in 2011. The city and the nonprofit Snohomish Carnegie Foundation are partners in planning for and funding the building’s future. Neither group has money identified to help implement the master plan at this time.
Bauman expects to return to the City Council later this year with more information about maintenance costs, repair options, and possible next steps for the Carnegie Library Building.