The completion of the new Platteville Public Library will be delayed for four to six weeks after a state inspector found a problem with the building’s fire walls.
The state fire code requires that buildings with underground garages have fire walls able to separate a fire from the other side of the wall for at least three hours.
The Library Block building, however, was designed for two-hour fire separation.
“It was not identified by the architect, nor by the state building code plan review process,” said director of public works Howard Crofoot. “It was discovered by the state building inspector.”
Crofoot said upgrading the fire walls will require “additional spray fireproofing of beams and much of the underside of the precast flooring in the basement parking garage, plus additional fire proofing on beams in the first floor of the hotel.”
The project also requires additional library smoke detection and fire alarm systems, Crofoot said.
In addition, he said, because the fire wall issue was discovered relatively late in construction, “there are items that have been installed that need to be removed, have the fire proofing spray completed, then the items can be re-attached. This coordination is what is causing the bulk of the delay.”
As a result, the library probably won’t open until late June, Crofoot said. That in turn will delay the renovation of the existing library space for the Neighborhood Health Partners clinic. The original clinic site was where the new library is; the clinic has been in the former police department space in the Municipal Building since the building was demolished.
The fire wall issue is the second delay for the project. One year ago, the beginning of construction was delayed because soil borings after excavation began determined different load capacity for the soil than originally thought. A payment dispute between the excavator, Wiederholt Excavating of Hazel Green, and developer Miners Development LLC also briefly stopped work.
In addition to the 22,000-square-foot library, more than double the size of the current library, the Library Block project includes a 72-room Holiday Inn Express hotel. Remodeling of the current library for the clinic will follow the library's moving into its new space.
The city is paying $1.5 million in rent over seven years in a lease for the library portion of the project. Payments will start when the project is complete and the library begins moving to its new location, Kurt said.
The city is getting guaranteed tax increments of $100,000 this year and $155,000 per year from 2018 to 2024, and $125,000 per year from 2025 to 2036. The total is $2.685 million, with $1.03 million of that during the expected seven-year library lease, or $1.185 million in case of an eight-year lease. The city will receive $3 million in return over 20 years from the $2 million loan from Tax Incremental Financing District 7.