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Kokua Line

Library efficiency will improve with air-conditioning upgrade

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Question: The Pearl City Public Library’s project to build a separate building in the parking lot to house a new air-conditioning unit is a big waste of taxpayer money. It’s also taking away parking spaces. Why didn’t they just improve the existing system? It makes no sense at all. The building is ugly and causing lots of headaches for library patrons.

Answer: Officials say the $1.252 million project is to upgrade the library’s existing system, making it more energy efficient.

They also say there was no other place to put the building that will house the chiller plant and cooling tower.

Adding chilled water will make the air-conditioning system more energy efficient, reducing both electricity and repair costs, as well as saving taxpayers’ money, said Paul Mark, spokesman for the Hawaii State Public Library System.

"Every possible site" for the building was explored, he said. In the end only the parking lot was deemed suitable because of zoning regulations.

Although construction is taking 10 stalls, the completed building will only use the equivalent of four stalls. Six stalls will be returned for public use, Mark said.

He also explained that a new building is needed because the mechanical room for the old air-conditioning system is too small to house parts of the new system.

Constructing a new building to house a new system actually has a side benefit, Mark said.

If a new system were installed in the same location, it would require shutting down the existing system for removal, demolishing the existing mechanical building and reconstructing a new one to house the larger equipment.

Under this scenario the library would have had to shut down for months, Mark said.

After the new building is completed, the library still will need to close, but for only about two weeks. During that time the old parts of the existing air-conditioning system will be removed and replaced with new parts of the new system, Mark said.

There is no announced date of completion.

The project, which began last September, was expected to take eight months, but two "unanticipated problems" caused delays, Mark said.

"First, the contractor found potentially hazardous materials in the soil that had existed prior to the library being built more than 40 years ago," he said.

That required the environmental consultant to collect soil samples for analysis over several months before a final report could be completed.

The contractor then discovered underground pipes that no one knew existed. That discovery created additional analysis work for the consultant, Mark said.

Announcements will be made when the library is scheduled for closure and when the air-conditioning upgrade project is completed.



To the driver of a green Toyota MR2 who cut in front of me while I waited patiently in line for a gas pump to open up in my aisle at the Costco gas station in Iwilei on Wednesday. You moved over from another aisle, and when I briefly honked my horn, you just looked at me with a blank stare. You then continued to pull to the gas pump and obliviously fill your tank while I had to wait until you were done. I hope you learn some aloha spirit or at least plain common courtesy. — The Grey Nissan

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