Westchester Public Library Board members adopted a resolution Thursday
declaring a boiler emergency to streamline the bidding process to replace
the 39 year-old Thomas Library unit.
WPL director Phil Baugher has been reporting boiler problems in recent
months but the situation is escalating, he said, and it could take as long
as two weeks to repair the boiler at a possible cost of $30,000.
After having evaluated the options Baugher said it’s his recommendation the
boiler be replaced as soon as possible, and he’s consultating with an HVAC
professional to draft bid specifications.
By declaring an emergency, the time-consuming public bidding process can be
The director hopes to have the bids submitted and ready for review at the
Library Board’s March 13 meeting. He estimated actual boiler replacement
might not be completed until June; steps have been taken to extend the
boiler’s life until work can begin.
One of the bid specifications is asking for a quick-ship option, which could
increase the price, but Baugher said the replacement boiler doesn’t have to
be as large as the current unit.
WPL attorney Terry Hiestand said the law requires that all steel involved in
the boiler replacement be made in the United States. Observed Baugher,
“We’re a steelmaking community. I think we have an obligation to do that.”
After Hiestand described its benefits, the Library Board also agreed to
require that vendors submit a bid bond to guarantee they will begin work and
perform to contract specifications. President Nick Tilden wondered if that
would inhibit bidding; Hiestand said it would encourage only serious bidders
Member Drew Rhed asked if Baugher had considered installing another type of
heating system. Baugher said high efficiency was discussed but going to
hot-water heat from the current steam unit would cost significantly more and
take longer to install because the building would have to be retrofitted.
In other business Thursday, board members interviewed Rondi Wightman of
Porter, who submitted her application to replace retiring member Claire
Jolie. By a 7-0 consensus the board recommended Wightman to the Porter
County Board of Commissioners, which makes the actual four-year appointment.
Other board seats are appointed by the Duneland School Board (three), Porter
County Council, Westchester Township trustee and Township Board.