The Burnham Library will replace all three of its heating and air conditioning units just in time for the colder weather later this fall.
The HVAC units have failed multiple times this year, causing an inconvenience to library patrons during what was an unseasonably warm summer, library director Kelly McCagg said.
“We’ve had to make some minor repairs this year just to keep them going,” she said. “More than anything I was worried about people.”
The library has three HVAC units which are all about 30 years old and in poor shape, said Bryan Osborne, director of public works. One is in critical condition, and the other two are close behind it.
The HVAC units were scheduled to be replaced this year, and just in time.
Osborne said the town’s fiscal year 2019-24 capital budget program originally budgeted $65,000 for to replace the three units, and the selectboard allocated an additional $10,000 from FY18 year-end funds for the project at a previous date.
However, a bid on the official design of the project came in at $128,100, leaving the funding short $53,100.
“This budget allowance was not based upon any detailed design work and was generally what was available within the program given other competing needs,” Osborne wrote in a memo to the selectboard.
The bid included alternatives to save money by only replacing one or two of the units now and waiting until more money is available to replace the third.
However, Osborne recommended replacing all three units at the same time due to their condition and “the impact that a failure would have on the library understanding that this is the most busy public building the town has with over 70,000 visitors a year,” his memo says.
Additionally, the project would cost more in the long run if the town were to replace them one at a time due to “mobilization costs” to the contractor for stopping and starting the project back up again, Osborne added.
In the end, the selectboard approved an increase to the capital budget from an originally budgeted $65,000 to $118,100 to cover the costs of the three units. Osborne said that this would cause a deficit in the grand list, but the money would be recovered through annual growth by FY23. Installation is expected to commence early fall.