SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


RE: Public Library
By Suzan Thompson


August 19, 2010
Thursday AM

Don Hoff Jr.'s letter to Sitnews last week states, in part: "I've been reading the debates on the public library for some time now... here is what I know. The present library was designed to add additional floors for growth. It would be common sense to add an upper floor to the existing library and would be affordable to the taxpayer."

The present building was NOT designed to add an additional floor. Mr. Hoff and others might be interested in the following, which was taken from the 2003 Phase One Structural Feasibility Study for the Tongass Historical Museum by Livingston Stone, Inc. Please note that the study was done in the context of remodeling the present library/museum building as a museum alone, and not as a library, which has a much heavier floor load: " The roof structure is lightly framed with a live load capacity of 40 psf. This is far from adequate to serve as a future floor, especially a museum floor. It is not anticipated that the existing roof structure could be modified to serve as a floor. Due to tight constraints, much of the addition must be vertical. This means constructing on top of the existing structure. This presents several problems. It increases the load on existing structural elements that were not designed for another story. This would include walls, columns, and foundations. It also greatly increases the lateral wind and seismic loads of elements such as shear walls and bracing. Another complication affecting the feasibility of an addition is the age of the building. The structure was designed under the 1964 UBC. Since wind and seismic loads have changed dramatically over the last decade, the existing lateral load system does not meet modern-day standards without regards to another story. It is apparent from the analysis that neither the vertical nor lateral load resisting elements in the existing structure can be easily modified and strengthened to meet the additional demands of another story. The existing roof structure and its supporting columns cannot be strengthened or modified to serve as the new floor for another story."

The study goes on to discuss possible ways in which the building might be modified to serve as a museum and weighs costs and benefits. I imagine our museum personnel would be willing to discuss this study with interested community members. I think our museum is a great asset to Ketchikan and its personnel should be commended for the outstanding job they do in preserving and sharing Ketchikan's history, and I hope that when the library moves out, the museum is able to expand and continue its good work.

Suzan Thompson
Ketchikan, AK


Received August 18, 2010 - Published August 19, 2010


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