On December 19, 2022, the Board of Trustees of the Hodgkins Public Library District unanimously agreed to approve an ordinance to seek $5.5 million for the construction of a new library building.
The Ordinances reads as follows:
“Shall the bonds of Hodgkins Public Library District, Cook County, Illinois, in the amount of $5,500,000.00 be issued for the purpose of erecting and furnishing necessary equipment for a new library building?”
How Did We Get Here?
In 2019, the Board of Trustees began investigating the possibility of updating Hodgkins Library. They were inquiring about a modest addition as well as updating the interior and infrastructure. The building was nearly 40 years old and had few modifications over that time. Progress was made with architectural renderings of what could be done at certain price points.
With a pandemic crisis looming and fears of significant economic impact to our community, the Board of Trustees put the project on hold in early 2020. By the summer of 2021, there was talk of reviving the project; and by the winter, conversations with an architect resumed.
Artwork was beginning to be commissioned, and inspections were taking place in the summer of 2022. One of the last inspections to take place, a structural inspection, came back with terrible news. The support system was severely rusted, and the cost to strengthen and secure the existing skeleton would cost more than the extension on the building.
With this news in mind, the Board of Trustees determined that the most appropriate use of tax dollars would be to seek out a new building.
What Went Wrong? What Happens Next?
The exterior cladding failed. It has been an inferior product from the moment it was installed. Also, a poor vapor barrier was installed to manage moisture. Due to constant cracking, moisture has been allowed to seep behind the wall and past the vapor barrier to come in contact with the steel support system. Steel oxidizes when it comes in contact with moisture, and we see that reaction as rust. Over time, that rust flakes away, which weakens the support system.
At some point in the future, this support system will no longer be able to hold up the exterior cladding and roof, and will fail. When will that occur? We don’t know. But we know that the issue exists. And the Board of Trustees knows that the cost of repair meets or exceeds the cost of building a new building.
What Can I Do To Help?
Please vote in the Consolidated Election that takes place on April 4, 2023.