Friday, August 14, 2015

End of the Era of Hanging Tubes: "Temporary" HVAC System to be Removed

The construction contractor has scheduled a crew to begin today to remove the old overhead tubes left from the library's “temporary” HVAC system. The process is to start on the south end of the 4th floor in the open stacks area of the Latin American Library (LAL) and then progress through the lower floors in sequence. The tubes that ran through the LAL closed stacks and the open general stacks on the north end of 4th floor have already been taken down.

A separate crew will be dispatched later, likely beginning next week, to follow behind and begin to replace interior transoms and repair other holes left from the tubes.

The temporary HVAC system with its interior air distribution tubes spanning each floor in eight locations was first installed in the initial effort to remediate the heavily damaged Howard-Tilton building after Hurricane Katrina.  The system was designed as an interim measure to last for a relatively short period of time; it served the library, for better or worse, for more than nine years.

The exterior work to remove the temporary HVAC towers, blower units, and chilled water lines along the back of the building will be treated separately, but this too is expected to commence within the next few weeks. That work will include the removal of the metal flange and damper pieces fitted into former windows and through which the tubes were connected to the outside towers. The windows have all been measured for new glass and they’ll be replaced as part of the tower removal, with precautions taken to limit brief interior exposure to the outside elements through these openings. Special attention will be paid to the scheduling of the work in areas such as the LAL rare and closed stacks areas on the 4th floor, classroom 309, and staff office areas.

Since the switch to the new permanent HVAC system two weeks ago, the new system has worked well in some areas of the building and not so well in others.  Some of the balancing the system may have to do with air picked up in the system that feeds some of the new cooling units from the campus chilled water supply. This may have caused some vapor lock in units that feed certain locations getting very little air on the lower floors. Technicians from the mechanical/electrical subcontractor MCC are bleeding all the lines to these units to remove any air that may have become trapped. After this they may be able to get a truer sense of which areas actually have air flow issues otherwise due to closed dampers. Also, yesterday a humidity issue on the north side of the 3rd floor was traced to to an open air vent in the graduate carrels nearby at the northwest corner of the building. The vent was designed to release building air pressure, but was heating that corner of the carrels with direct outside air. The wall in the carrels there does not extend to the ceiling so warm humid air was mixing with the new cool air in the adjacent stacks area, creating condensation. The vent is now sealed, and the humidity is dropping.

Monday, a team from MCC is scheduled to begin a more thorough inspection of the air duct and diffusers on each floor. The team will search for dampers that need to be manually reopened and other potential issues. They plan to start in the basement and work their way up through floors 1-6.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Rare Latin American Library (LAL) Collections to Return from Off-site; Elevator Access Limited During the Move

The returning move of rare Latin American  Library (LAL) collections from storage off-site back to Howard-Tilton's 4th floor LAL closed stacks area is set to begin this Monday, August 10.  During the move, it is expected that the mover will have control of the elevator. Otherwise, use of the elevator will be limited to library users and staff physically unable to use the stairs at the Freret Street (south) and Dixon Hall (north) ends of the building.

Hallett Moving Co. has been contracted to perform the move, which the company is expecting to take about a week. The company plans to finish in five days--on Friday, August 14. Moving operations are scheduled to begin each day at 7 am (a little later on the first day Monday) and continue through until 6 pm. Initially, it was thought thought that the move might begin earlier in the mornings, but the need for the library to provide supervised access and staff “spotters” during the move simultaneously at both the library off-site facility and the LAL closed stacks rare book area in H-TML’s 4th floor made the earlier start unpractical.

Hallett staff members have been at the library all this week mapping out their plans (in consultation with LAL staff), measuring and flagging materials, and readjusting shelf heights where needed.

The returning materials will be brought into the library through its 1st floor loading dock and then to the elevator. Hallett is national firm that specializes in library moving; its crews are used to working in library settings and with library materials including rare materials.

The move will encompass more than 6,000 linear feet of material, which was moved to the off-site facility at 900 S. Jeff Davis Parkway just prior to the 5th and 6th floor construction project as a means of protecting these collections while new mechanical and HVAC systems were being built overhead. A special high-density mobile shelving system was purchased and installed off-site for this purpose. It will be dismantled, moved, then reassembled on the new HTML 6th floor for use in housing recorded music and media collections.

A team from the shelving company Associated Office Systems (AOS) examined the mobile shelving off-site earlier this week to begin their plans to deassemble, transport, and then reassemble the shelving on the 6th floor. They’re expecting to begin this operation very soon after the move of rare materials is complete.

It is likely that, like the other shelving for the 5th and 6th floors, this shelving will be craned to a balcony area where a window has been removed at the 5th floor level and then hoisted into the building there. Crews have then carried shelving components destined for the 6th floor up the Dixon side stairwell by hand.