Pleasanton Public Library temporarily closes indoor services for final phase of Roof Replacement Project


Zaynah Shah

The deadline for the Library Roof Replacement Project was extended from fall 2022 to summer 2023 due to lasting unforeseen issues from the library’s initial construction.

Zaynah Shah, Amadon Editor-in-Chief

Under construction since early August, the Pleasanton Public Library recently moved into the final stages of its Roof Replacement Project. Following the completion of the new roof in late February, the next step, replacing the clerestory and gable windows, will require the library to close indoor operations between Apr. 17 and May 15.

However, the library will continue providing their core services to the public through their Sidewalk Service, the same system used during the pandemic. Library-goers will be able to place a hold on materials through the Library Catalog or by phone call. They will be notified whenever their items are available to pick up.

“While we’re closed, we’re trying to offer our core services which are books, information, and research. We’ll be doing some training and providing Sidewalk Service. And of course, we’ll be available to answer information questions on the telephone or email through our ZenDesk system. We’re still offering service to the public, they just can’t come into the building,” said Pleasanton librarian Christopher Ota.

From the beginning

Built in 1988, the Pleasanton Public Library has served the Pleasanton community for over 30 years. As such, the structural integrity of the building has been slowly deteriorating. Upon reviewing their biannual fiscal budgets, Pleasanton city council identified some of the current issues with the Pleasanton library: a leaking roof, inefficient lighting system, and old fire-monitoring system.

“When city staff presented the budget, they realized the library roof was leaking and water was dripping onto materials. Second, the lighting system was designed and upgraded years ago so that if you moved into a different section in the library, the lights would gradually come up brighter. But the company that built that lighting system went out of business, so we’re unable to maintain it. The third thing we identified back in June was that the library needs a new fire alarm prevention system. The current one isn’t as updated as we would like,” said Pleasanton Vice Mayor Jack Balch.

Prioritizing the roof replacement in the city’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP), the council allocated an initial $2.8 million with a $337,000 contingency from funds they received from the national COVID recovery American Rescue Plan Act and a sales tax revenue surplus. Other projects within the Fiscal Year 2022/23 CIP include restoring the Century House and Ken Mercer skate park.

“The library already had some money for the reroofing, and when the budget was approved, the main operating and CIP budget together, we prioritized the library for the reroofing project. In the June budget, we had some better-than-expected results associated with the pandemic. We also received some of the American Rescue Plan Act funds. What we typically do with the surplus is to allocate it somewhere. We have to put the money somewhere for the use and benefit of the community,” said Balch.

In December, sections of the library were closed off from the inside to allow for work on the roof access panels. (Zaynah Shah)

Further adjustments 

To resolve the leaking roof, the project began August 2022 to update the roof access panels and provide the library with a new tiled roof. During this time, the library was kept open to the public until this step was completed in December 2022.

“Essential improvements to the 34-year-old building include the installation of 35,900 square feet of new concrete roof tiles and 2,000 square feet of membrane roofing for an extra layer of protection against water leaks. The project will also install new energy-efficient roofline windows, replace water-damaged wood sheathing, and add new gutters and downspouts,” said Pleasanton Community & PR Coordinator Nick Binzoni in an August 2022 press release.

Originally planning to only provide the library with a new tiled roof and larger roof access panels, the ARGO Construction contractors stumbled across a few unexpected structural issues from the library’s original construction. City staff thus returned to council that December to update the cost for the project. The library construction increased to now cost $2.99 million with a $612,000 contingency. 

“In December, city staff said they were over budget because of unforeseen window structure and unexpected water damage. They laid out six things that were wrong. And those things ranged from structural repairs, additional stucco removal, and water concentrated on the roof, to seismically unbraced window systems, plywood reinforcement at the eaves and gables, and wood repairs needed from dry rot,” said Balch.

What now?

The Pleasanton Public Library will be closed between Apr. 17 and May 10 in order to replace the large gable windows that line the ceiling of the main hall. (Zaynah Shah)

Throughout the next few weeks, the library will replace the gable and clerestories lining the library’s main hall’s ceiling. Although initially projected to finish in fall 2022, the Library Roof Replacement Project is now estimated to be completed by summer 2023.

“There are some impacts of the construction project that are disturbances to our services. But in the end, these construction improvements are going to make a better library. We’re going to have a dry and stable building, and we’re going to work hard to reopen with a better experience for the public,” said Ota.

Sidewalk Service will be open to call in holds and pick up materials between 10 a.m to 6 p.m. on Monday through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturdays, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

To keep up with the Roof Replacement Project, follow the Pleasanton Public Library’s updates here. Or find the official press release for the project’s final phase here.