Kautza pushes for repairs at library

Mold issues not as severe as originally believed
Kevin Passon

The sky is not falling at the Shawano County Library, reiterated Shawano County Board Chairman Tom Kautza during his monthly report to the board Nov. 15.

A recent study of the mold issues at the library revealed less of a problem than originally was believed.

“Yes, there is mold in the building, and it’s the same thing that I found on the website of the EPA; there really is no standard for how much mold is bad,” he said of an email from the firm that studied the situation. “There’s always going to be a certain amount, no matter what you do. In short, his email kind of summed up that the sky is not falling at the library.”

The study revealed there is no toxic black mold in the building.

Kautza said the issues of cracks in the foundation and other leaks still need to be addressed to prevent water from entering the building.

“What I’m going to propose at the next public property meeting is we look at and we fix the building we have,” he said.

Mold in the building will mostly affect those with allergies or respiratory problems.

Kautza said there were earlier estimates of about $100,000 to have a remediation company remove all the carpeting, clean all the walls, strip the walls down and then paint the floors.

“If there is anything coming in again, it’s not hidden underneath the carpet to start generating mold,” he said. “It would be out in the open and easy to see and clean up.”

Kautza said Grant Bystol, highway commissioner, and Jim Davel, administrative coordinator, also reviewed the building’s leaks and cracks.

“They thought, on the outside of the building in the areas where there’s water issues, they could take that out and clean the wall up,” Kautza said, “and they’d be able to seal the walls back up and then pour a nice cement cap over the top to get the water out and away from the building, so the water isn’t such a problem there.”

Bystol was said to have claimed the work could be done for around $30,000, but Kautza said more issues could be discovered after the work begins, so he suggested an estimate of $50,000.

During the last two months when the library board was discussing moving to a temporary location after closing the existing building and waiting for construction of a new library as part of a new courthouse complex, the best alternative for a temporary home would cost $88,000 a year to rent, plus moving costs.

The $150,000 in repairs is a marked difference from the $12 million figure batted around as the cost to build a new library.

“I can’t see moving the library out and paying $88,000 a year in rent when we can fix the building we have, and they can stay right in there, and it would be less money,” the chairman said. “In not even two years, we’d be saving money.”

Supervisor Jeremy Gretzinger urged Kautza and the public property committee to consider using a basement solution company for another review of the building and suggestions on how to repair it.

“I do know that there is a dye that they put around these structures, and they can tell where the water’s coming in,” he said.

After seeing the water flowing into the library on a recent visit, he said staff members get no response from the county maintenance department when they call.

“I went over there in the middle of the torrential rain, went downstairs. I could actually see where the water was coming in,” Gretzinger said. “There were some cellar doors where the water was just coming in pretty good where the carpet was getting wet about 2 or 3 feet back.”

Kautza said that both concerns would be brought up at the public property committee meeting.