Photo by Jason Wheeler.
The rain, rain, rain came down, down, down, right into the Prescott Valley Public Library. Resident David Conray said the library is like a sieve when it rains.
“I’m really concerned about the children being exposed to the mold,” he said, remarking he hopes something will come of Prescott Valley’s recent lawsuit concerning the library defects.
On Monday, Jan 30, more than seven years after the Town of Prescott Valley and Yavapai College took occupancy of the library and adjoining offices and classrooms, the town sued Richard + Bauer Architecture and Barton Malow Company, the construction contractor, over defects in the design and construction of the facility’s roof assembly, exterior cement panels and other interior and exterior portions.
It didn’t take long to notice the defects as the leaks happened essentially immediately after moving into the building, said Prescott Valley Capital Projects Coordinator Kim Moon. At first, there were only a few leaks and they weren’t that bad, she said.
“Of course, as everyone has observed, they’ve increased in number and volume over the years to the point where it’s ridiculous now,” Moon said, mentioning how the library has buckets to catch the water and plastic covering the books when it rains. “The library staff does that during rainstorm events.”
Keith Cobb says he goes to the library all the time and sees the buckets and towels all over the place when it rains. It’s frustrating to see as it threatens to ruin computers and books, he said.
There wasn’t anything that foreshadowed the leaks and structural issues during the design and construction phases, Moon said. However, it is an architecturally unique structure and not just the typical block building, she said.
“With a building like that, you do have unique problems,” Moon said. “This, of course, is incredibly unacceptable.”
There were at least five investigations and probably more into the defects, Moon said with Town Attorney Ivan Legler stating for about two years there was an effort to reach some type of agreement with the contractor and architect.
The thought was to operate under the original contract and have the two parties go in as a warranty item to fix it, Legler said.
“The big problem was the contractor said ‘you know, we’ll go in and we’ll do some work, but we need to make sure the architect is involved,” he said. “We never could quite get the architect to come to the table.”
Since the town has been unable to come to an agreement with the two parties, it appears the town has to do the repairs itself and then seek reimbursement through potential legal channels, Moon said. Legler said it’s a judgment the town is confident it can get, noting the hope is to reach a settlement with the parties ahead of time and not have to go all the way to trail.
Barton Malow Company had no comment and calls to Richard + Bauer were not returned.