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CCPL Board Asks 5253 Design Group To Do Viability Study Of Bank Building

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Taylor Inman
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WKMS
Calloway County Public Library Board during their February 2018 meeting. (Not pictured are board members Riley Ramsey and Joseph Walker).

The Calloway County Public Library Board are moving forward with their own viability study of the former Regions Bank building.

Some board members have been considering moving the library into the building as an alternative to expansion.

Frederick’s Report On Regions Bank Building

In January’s meeting, the board asked former Regions Bank Building owners Mark and Valerie Frederick to present the findings of their own viability studies publicly at the next meeting. Previously, the Fredericks wanted to show the results only to the board, asking them to sign a confidentiality agreement. Valerie Frederick has said the owners paid for the studies out of pocket.

Mark Frederick said at Tuesday’s meeting both the environmental study and the structural assessment had positive results. He said the building received a letter of clearance from AAA for the environmental study. Copies of the letter given to board members at the meeting said AAA removed “all known asbestos piping and flooring” according to local, state and federal guidelines.

Frederick said Paul Crabtree of Matrix Engineering in Paducah determined 11,800 square feet of the building meets the 150 pounds per-square-feet live load capacity. The ‘live load’ capacity is weight that is usually unstable or moving and ‘dead load’ is weight that is static or relatively constant for an extended time. The 150 pounds per-square-feet live load is what is required of libraries under Kentucky Building Code. Frederick said 15,000 additional square feet would meet the required live load capacity with verification of the beam and column connection. It’s a process that would need to be conducted in a separate, more invasive study. The building is more than 33,000 square feet in its entirety.

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Credit Taylor Inman / WKMS
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WKMS
Mark Frederick goes through study results and blueprints of the former Regions Bank building.

The board raised concerns about parking spaces, traffic and the added costs of updating the building. Frederick said the property has 300 parking spaces within a block. These spaces include public parking around the court square and two parking lots across the property from 3rd Street. He said he didn’t have specific numbers related to traffic or the cost of updating the building, but believed it would not be hard to make the property compliant of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Letters given to the board members and blue prints of the building are attatched below. 

Board Asks 5253 Design Group To Conduct Their Own Study

Board members still want to corroborate Frederick’s results with studies of their own. The board previously hired Bacon, Farmer and Workman and AAA to conduct the studies last fall. When BFW was told by Valerie Frederick they already hired an engineer to conduct the study, BFW told them to continue with their own engineer and dropped out of the project.

Louisville-based 5253 Design Group Head Architect Chris Cottongim helped design the original expansion plan for the library. He was asked by Board Secretary Mark Kennedy if he could attempt to fit what was included in the 5253 expansion plan into the Regions Bank building. Kennedy has said moving the library into the building could be a cheaper alternative than the proposed expansion plan.

“It’s an interesting building, it’s an interesting site, but then I think what you’ll see- we’ll take this program see if it fits into the building or not and go from there. We’ll start to look at budgets, we’ll put numbers on paper and not just grab them out of the air,” Cottongim said.  

Cottongim didn’t give an estimated price for the viability study at the meeting but said he wouldn’t charge $10,000. That’s the price the board was quoted by other engineering firms for the same study. The board voted unanimously to have 5253 Design Group conduct the study.

During the public comment period, community member Constance Alexander told the board she is against moving the library into the former bank building. “As everyone was talking about retrofitting, all I could think of was Cinderella, y’know, getting those fat feet into a small shoe- it didn’t work...So is it in the best interest of this community to shoehorn a design into a building that’s not meant to be a library?” she said.  

Library Working Group Members And Open Meetings Violation

Board Treasurer Winfield Rose proposed moving the expansion plan by 5253 Design Group to a different location on the property- behind the current library. He said this would require tweaking 5253’s plan but would allow the library to stay in its current building while construction on the new library takes place. In January’s meeting, Cottongim advised moving the library to a separate location. Rose said he researched some potential renting locations for the library and didn’t find many viable options.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Rose asked the recently formed Library Working Group to look at potential places for the library to move into during construction.

Group Chair Bobby Martin said during the meeting the group has met several times since its inception last month. He said they are working on several items to present to the board, some of which might be ready for the March meeting.

The board decided in January to appeal the Attorney General’s ruling that they violated Kentucky Open Meetings Law. Board President Audrey Neal said at Tuesday’s meeting the board chose not to pursue the appeal any further.

Taylor is a recent Murray State University graduate where she studied journalism and history. When she's not reporting for WKMS, she enjoys creative writing and traveling. She loves writing stories that involve diversity, local culture and history, nature and recreation, art and music, and national or local politics. If you have a news tip or idea, shoot her an email at tinman1@murraystate.edu!