Some much-needed repairs could be on tap for Jackson’s flagship library, but city officials don’t know exactly when those repairs will be made.
The city of Jackson is planning to bid out repairs to the Eudora Welty Library.
The repairs would include covering the building’s parapet stones, a move that library officials say would stop a major source of the facility’s leaks.
Parapet stones basically create a low wall around the edge of a building’s roof, according to Vocabulary.com.
“We met with building maintenance, and the mayor and I told them it was a priority and we wanted it done as soon as possible,” said Chief Administrative Officer Robert Blaine.
The city was still drawing up bids for the project at press time. Costs for the project won’t be determined until bids are received, he said.
Blaine said the administration hopes to get the work done before winter begins and the rainy season starts.
The announcement comes about a year after the Welty library was temporarily closed by the Mississippi Fire Marshal for numerous fire code violations.
Some of the violations were the results of leaks from the parapet stones, as well as leaks from holes in the building’s aging brick.
The leaks caused water to pour into the building, causing damage to floor and ceiling tiles on the second floor and leading to the growth of black mold in Welty’s information technology and administrative offices.
The second floor remains closed to the public.
Jackson-Hinds Library System (JHLS) Executive Director Patty Furr is excited about having at least one source of leaks addressed.
“The parapets being covered should stop a lot of water going down into the walls, which really help doom our original Welty offices,” she said.
Library officials abandoned the IT and administrative offices last year. IT was relocated to the Quisenberry Library in Clinton, while the administration is now located in the River Hills office building on Lakeland Drive.
The mold, according to a Google search, can cause respiratory problems similar to the flu. Numerous employees had gotten sick as a result.
Meanwhile, JHLS has begun making other improvements to the library.
The system recently spent $22,000 to repair a faulty heating and cooling system, and has made improvements to the patron and employee elevators.
These changes will help the City of Jackson install emergency telephones in the elevators, which will once again allow library staff and books to be transported to and from the second floor.
Additional repairs of second-floor leaks must be completed before the public will be allowed access to the book collections and study areas there.
And before employees could again use the administrative offices, black mold would have to be removed.
Said Furr, “We miss having our offices in a library, especially one with a book collection as large as the one in Welty.”