Roof of Turnbull Library to be replaced; construction has entered final phase

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ST. THOMAS - The creaking roof on the Turnbull Library is being replaced, and the library's hours will be limited during construction.

The library will be open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to allow construction crews to work from 6 a.m. through mid-day, according to the V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources.

After its installation, the roof was making loud popping sounds when it heated and cooled. The cost of the roof replacement will be covered by the original contractor, Balboa Construction.

NIMAL LLC, the project manager, will oversee Balboa Construction's replacement of the roof.

Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls has said that the original contractor and its subcontractors are responsible because the roof was never accepted by the Public Works Department.

The roof replacement and reduced library hours will be in effect for the next few weeks, according to Acting DPNR Commissioner Jean-Pierre Oriol.

For access and safety reasons, some areas, including certain parking spaces, may be blocked off from time to time as sections of the roofing are addressed, Oriol said.

In addition to the roof repairs, NIMAL currently is working on the final phase of the library's construction, which Smalls said began last month and will include installing a photovoltaic system and perimeter fencing.

"The work began on July 17 and is being coordinated by the Department of Public Works in collaboration with the Virgin Islands Public Finance Authority and the Department of Planning and Natural Resources," Smalls said in a written statement. "This additional work was not included in the original scope of work when the library was designed and constructed. These items are required to complete the final phase of the library so the entire facility can be opened to the public."

Construction of the new library began in 2008 and was plagued by many delays and cost increases over the years. The estimated cost of the library's construction now is about $24 million, according to Smalls.

The $1.4 million for the final phase comes from $2 million earmarked for the library in a 2012 bond issuance.

The cost will cover the installation of the library's 105-kilowatt photovoltaic system; landscaping; signage; and an exterior wall that will surround the library.

The solar system is expected to save the library as much as $30,000 annually in utility costs, according to Smalls.

- Contact Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email

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