More renovations planned for RHPL

At its October board meeting the Rochester Hills Public Library Board of Trustees decided to continue with improvements to the library building.  Earlier this year new flooring was installed and reupholstering of furniture in the public areas of the building is almost complete. The next project will be the installation of terrazzo on the library’s main staircase.

“We’ve had carpet on the stairs for the past 22 years and have had to replace it every 5 years or so,” said library director Christine Lind Hage. “With about 2,200 people per day visiting the library and using the stairs the carpet gets dirty and wears out quickly.”  After looking at a variety of options including new carpet, various tile products and terrazzo, the board decided to go with the terrazzo because of its durability, easy maintenance and cost effectiveness. “Workers will be in the library in the next few weeks to create templates of the treads and risers on the staircase. These will be pre-fabricated offsite and installed in February when the landings are constructed onsite.  The stairs will be inaccessible for about two weeks in February while the onsite work is done. The library’s elevator will be the only way to access the second floor during that construction period.

RHPL Proposed Site Plan

A second larger construction project is planned for next summer. “Since the library opened in 1992 using the library’s drive-up book return and pick-up window is difficult for library users,” said Hage. “In the process of completing four 90 degree turns, drivers drove over curbs and grass and hit the building repeatedly.”  Hage said “We found broken headlights, side-view mirrors and automotive trim pieces on the driveway all the time.” A rubber bumper was installed in 1993 to help protect cars when they hit the building. Even with the rubber bumper and new curbing, drivers continue to struggle with the turns, so the problem is finally going to be remedied.

The building will be expanded by 3,690 square feet to the south so that drivers will easily be able to return and pick up books from their cars. In addition to correcting the drive-up return issue, the new space will allow the library to install an automated materials handling system that will check in books as soon as they are returned and sort them by material type to speed up the shelving process once materials are checked in. “On good days we are able to get returned library materials back on the shelf within 48 hours,” said Ginger Olson who is the head of the circulation department. “After a three-day weekend it can take four or more days to get returned materials back on the shelf.” The new system will remedy that problem.

Also as part of the expansion project the library’s south parking lot will be resurfaced. The parking lot foundation has shifted over 22 years and needs to be re-compacted and re-surfaced. The parking lot is not being rearranged or enlarged, just restored. Also as part of that project a mechanical treatment chamber will be installed to remove suspended solids and oils from the parking lot storm water.  In a sense the mechanical treatment center works like a septic tank for storm water treatment before the water goes into the Paint Creek,” said Hage. “We are working with the Clinton River Watershed Council and the City of Rochester to see if any grant funds are available to help with the project.” The Paint Creek is one of the premier trout fishing streams in the state.

Design work on the parking lot and building expansion will take place this fall. Bids on the construction project will be accepted early in 2014 with construction anticipated to start early in the spring.  The entire project should be complete by the end of 2014. One of the more difficult things to cope with during the construction will be the loss of the drive-up book return and pick-up window.  Hage promised that temporary outdoor book returns will be set up by the library’s west entrance during the construction. The library will remain open throughout the entire construction period.

The Rochester Hills Public Library is located in downtown Rochester off of University Drive and three blocks east of Main Street.  The Library is open from 9 – 9 Monday through Thursday, 9 – 6 on Fridays and Saturdays and from 1 – 6 on Sundays during the school year.  The Library’s website (www.rhpl.org) has information on how to register for a card and access all the Library’s services.

About Sarah Hovis

Word manipulator, arts appreciator, sports spectator, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and online… all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at sarah@rochestermedia.com.

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