SHERIDAN — The Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library’s boiler replacement project got underway Monday, now that the library has secured funding for the entire project.
Library executive director Cameron Duff said grants and donations secured about two-thirds of the funding for the $97,500 project. He said the last third of funding has been promised by the Sheridan County Library Foundation.
Duff said this means there won’t be any cuts to the operational budget to cover the cost of the project.
The project started Aug. 21 with demolition work. Duff said contractors pulled apart drywall to expose areas for plumbers and electricians to work. He said it’s estimated that the new boilers will be installed in the first week of September and by the third week of September the new boilers will be installed, tested and ready to go.
The library is on a strict timeline for the project; it needs to be complete before the weather turns cold. Duff said now that the project has started, he has no concerns about it being completed in time.
Duff said with the exception of an early snowstorm or blast of cold, the library shouldn’t have a problem staying warm enough while no boilers are hooked up.
“In the next couple days they’ll be removing those boilers,” Duff said. “There’s no way to go ahead and reconnect them once they start working on the new plumbing, so we’re crossing our fingers that everything will go smoothly weather wise.”
He said a small storm could mean the library is colder in the mornings, but it’s something the building can handle.
There’s no plans for operating hours to change while the project is underway. Duff said workers have access to the boilers from the outside of the building so no areas in the library need to be blocked off.
He said there will be a couple parking spaces blocked while parts are hauled in and out of the building, and they’ll try to schedule any electrical, gas or water switchovers that may be needed outside of operating hours.
“There is no planned closings at this point,” Duff said. “Now all that can change as they proceed with the project, but at this point we’re trying to do with as little notice as possible. The public shouldn’t notice it.”
Duff said it was a process to figure out the project’s funding; the Library Foundation believed it was the county’s responsibility to cover it but County Commissioner Steve Maier made it clear at a May library board meeting that the county didn’t have the money to fund the project.
Duff said the foundation plans on moving up its annual fundraising letter, which is usual distributed in November or December, to early September with the boiler project as the main fundraiser goal.
Library board chair Shannon Anderson said it was a combination of community and foundation support that made the project possible.
“Our board is very pleased with how the Library Foundation stepped up and really acted to support the library and our building,” Anderson said. “There was also a significant outpouring of donations from the public including some fairly sizable donations collected by a church and local foundations and other just community support.”
Anderson said they’re excited the project is underway, but there’s a fear that it could be just the first in a series of capital improvement projects the building needs.
She said as part of the library’s strategic plan, which it adopted this spring, they’ll be evaluating the other projects the building needs to set fundraising goals and objectives to meet over the next few years.