Dr. Steve Whatley, Chairman of the Newton County Board of Trustees, said there was a time when he thought the Covington branch would have shut its doors. The HVAC unit was beyond repair, and the air in the library would be too hot and humid for its many guests and its many books.
However, at the last minute, Newton County found a way to get the library its funds, an HVAC unit is imminent and the library will stay open for many more years.
Tuesday evening the Newton County Board of Commissioners voted to start seeking out a loan for the library’s new HVAC system, which will cost near $1 million.
Wednesday morning the Library Board of Trustees unanimously voted to begin the construction process, spending $200,000 on materials, in a motion presented by Lee Aldridge and seconded by Barbara Gunner. Of the $200,000, $200,000 will come from the library system and another $100,000 comes from state funds that were set to expire June 30 if repairs did not begin.
The library will also get a financial boost from $10,000 donated by the city of Covington to help with new electric equipment that will be needed for the HVAC system.
Newton County’s library system will enter into a contract with NJPA EZIQ to perform the work, which will total $1,005,107.76.
The scope of work proposal states that there will be $959,719 in construction and $45,388.76 in project management by EZIQ.
The new HVAC system will be a four-pipe system, allowing the library to set different zones within the building. This type of system was recommended by state authorities over split systems for several reasons, including keeping humidity down, the amount of people coming in and out of the building.
“The split system doesn’t come close to satisfying code requirements for a public building,” said Bill Perugino, member of the Newton County Library System Board of Trustees.
The Covington branch also reopened its children section recently after it had a remodel and new carpet put in.