Lighting upgrades equipping the Hopkinsville-Christian County Public Library with LED fixtures throughout the facility would provide the fastest return on investment if officials move forward with the results of an audit conducted recently as part of a long-range planning effort.

“If we were to move forward with some of those things, that would be the first to do,” said Bart Cayce, vice chairman of the library’s board of trustees, of the results of a recent audit for the downtown library.

The assessment included an environmental inspection of the library conducted by the Tennessee Valley Authority and Hopkinsville Electric System, while Spurr Architecture worked with Waldron, Batey and Wade engineering firm to consider the state of the building itself.

Library Executive Director DeeAnna Sova said the purpose of the audit was to give officials an idea of the working condition of the facility, to look at its plumbing, electrical and lighting, among other aspects, and identify any ongoing issues that may need to be addressed.

“We’re actually in very good shape,” Sova noted. “The building is in very good condition, but there are things we want to address before it becomes a true problem.”

The director said there were no huge, negative red flags that needed to be addressed within a short time frame, i.e., during the next 30 days. The library’s 10-year-old roof will need to be addressed at some point, but Sova said it was in fantastic condition given its age.

Of the lighting, TVA offered suggestions on different types of fixtures available.

LED fixtures would provide better lighting and will hopefully impact the utilities in a positive way, according to Sova. She noted that the audit gives officials a preliminary overview of the library, and she said they’ll be discussing its results once they start reviewing the information.

The library has just begun its 2019-2020 fiscal year, she said.

“We’d like to see some of this,” Sova said. “The board will have to prioritize those things we’re wanting to do. We hope to do some things over the next year.

“We would like to continue to enhance the experience for the patrons,” she added.

Cayce noted that there is no plan right now to make any specific improvements to the library.

Part of the audit’s purpose was to ensure that officials are taking care of the facility at Ninth and Bethel streets as well as to identify items that need to be put in the budget, he said.

“Really what it was done for (was) to find out what we will fund in the next 10 years that needs to be put in the budget,” Cayce said. “If there is a major project like HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) replacement, we need to be able to give the city and county a heads-up.”

He said he feels the facility is a very sound building which will serve the community for years to come, and Cayce said officials want to ensure that the library is a good steward of that.

Among items addressed in the recent audit: the stability of the brick structure and whether the structure would support a third story if there was an expansion of the library in the future.

The assessment also addressed energy savings and considered the useful life of the facility’s current heating and cooling unit, the plumbing system and the age of the water heaters.

A lot of the library’s windows are single pane, and the audit questioned whether those provide enough energy efficiency and if the building would benefit from double-pane windows.

“It’s normal research to ensure the facility is in good shape going forward,” Cayce said.

Sova said the library began its audit in the fall of last year; the facility is served by Hopkinsville Electric System, and HES introduced the library to a division of TVA that conducts audits.

The library reached out to Spurr Architecture in January to complete remaining aspects of the audit; Sova said Spurr did some subcontracting with Waldron, Batey and Wade.

The local library averages 14,700 visits from patrons each month and continues to grow.

“It’s definitely a very relevant institution,” Sova said.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace@kentuckynewera.com.

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