Rogersville library's rotting reading room to be repaired

Jeff Bobo • Oct 10, 2019 at 1:19 PM

ROGERSVILLE — Hawkins County will pay 40 percent of the cost to replace windows and repair the rotting exterior of the reading room at the H.B. Stamps Public Library in Rogersville.

The exterior of the reading room at the front of the library has been deteriorating for years, with chipped and faded paint and chunks of rotted wood missing. 

Hawkins County and the city of Rogersville share the cost of maintaining the building where the library and Rogersville Senior Center are located, and repairing the outside of the reading room has been on the county’s “to do” list for a couple of years.

On Wednesday, Rogersville building inspector Steve Nelson gave the county commission’s Public Buildings Committee an estimate of $38,650 to repair the reading room.

That includes replacing the existing one-ply windows, which aren’t very energy efficient.

“The city asked me to look at it roughly six months ago, and it was beyond trying to patch it up,” Nelson said. “It wasn’t going to be cost effective in the long run. Also, those windows are single pane glass, and there’s a lot of them, so they’re losing a lot of energy through those windows.”

Nelson added, “I looked at trying to find standard size windows that we could replace those large windows with. And I’m replacing all the wood with ... a concrete composite material. It doesn’t rot or chip. Bugs don’t eat it.”

When the project is completed, the only wood on the reading room exteriors will be some decorative pieces.

Nelson noted that he is a member of the Rogersville Historic Preservation Commission, and he believes the new exterior would meet historic guidelines.

The agreement between the county and the city states that Rogersville pays 60 percent of the library maintenance and Hawkins County pays 40 percent.

The city’s part would be an estimated $23,190 and the county’s would be $15,460.

The committee voted to advertise for bids for the reading room project based on Nelson’s specs.

Depot deed to the city

In other county/city news, the committee also voted Wednesday to recommend to the full commission that it transfer the deed of the Rogersville Train Depot Museum from Hawkins County to Rogersville.

The Rogersville Board of Mayor and Aldermen already voted to accept the depot.

County buildings manager Sarah Davis told the committee, however, that County Attorney Jim Phillips advised that the city vote to accept the depot again.

In the next vote, the BMA should include in its motion that it also accepts the Rogersville Heritage Association’s 99-year lease, which has approximately 75 years left.

The city intends on seeking grant funding to repair the 129-year-old depot, which has some exterior wood rotting issues.