Huntley library reopens after emergency repairs

HUNTLEY – The Huntley Area Public Library reopened Thursday afternoon after being forced to close earlier in the week when the extreme cold ruptured sprinklers and damaged materials.

Officials opened the library’s doors around 3 p.m. with limited seating, computer access and services following a two-day clean up effort that soaked the library’s new carpet and furniture. The total property damage costs are unknown.

“We have carpet drying out, we have wet couches and chairs and we have materials drying,” Leigh Ann Porsch, library spokeswoman, said. “It’s not extensive damage. Things are just a mess.”

It’s been a rough start to 2014 for the library that serves about 25,000 Huntley-area residents. On Monday, the subzero temperatures knocked out the library’s power and shut down the building’s furnace.

The lack of heat also froze the pipes connected to the library’s sprinklers, Porsch said.

Despite the cold temperatures closing the library Monday, officials, who were monitoring the furnace situation from home, walked into a shuttered library to find that one sprinkler head near the library’s main area had burst.

On Tuesday, after the cold weather again closed the library, officials found that another sprinkler head had busted, Porsch said. Even with the water supply shut off, an outside spigot near the director’s office burst late Wednesday evening and flooded some offices, she said.

The library was closed Wednesday and Thursday for repairs.

The west side of the building, near the library’s bay windows and the audiobook section suffered the worst water damage, Porsch said. The library’s materials are relatively intact, aside from some damaged audiobooks, CDs and children audio kits.

Contractors were on site with large fans and dehumidifiers, drying out furniture and the library’s newly installed carpet. The biggest concern was ensuring that mold hadn’t grown underneath the carpet, Porsch said.

Officials secured a state grant to help pay and install about 12,000 square feet of new earth-toned carpet last summer to the library’s audiobook, fiction and reference areas. The remodeling project cost $55,975.

At least two sprinkler heads will need to be replaced and some drywall will need to be redone, Porsch said.

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