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Committee holds fate of rec center, library in Herminie

| Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, 10:45 p.m.

Sewickley Township officials formed an advisory committee to determine the fate of Sewickley Township Recreation Center and Library.

The building at 201 Highland Ave. in Herminie would need an estimated $250,000 to $300,000 in repairs, including a new roof, in order to remain operational, Supervisor Alan Fossi said.

“We don't have specific bids for that, but it's a lot of money,” he said after the supervisors approved the formation of the committee at their meeting Wednesday night.

Built in 1942, the building was an annex, including the gymnasium, to what was then the Sewickley Township High School, which has since been razed.

The six-member committee, enacted for one year, was approved to include recreation director Janet Schork and library board President Marci Lavelle.

“It's a great opportunity to evaluate whether it's worth keeping the existing building or doing something new,” Schork said.

The first meeting is planned for 7 p.m. Feb. 26 at the township municipal building, 2288 Mars Hill Road, for any residents interested in adding input or consideration as an additional member.

Fossi will act as a liaison between supervisors and the committee, which will not have authority to spend any township money, only to make recommendations to the supervisors.

On Oct. 31, the portion of the building housing the library sustained water damage when the after-effects of Hurricane Sandy blew through western Pennsylvania.

Many of the shelves holding the library's 18,000 books had to be moved away from basement walls where water was seeping in, including a recently renovated children's room.

To make the building more water-tight, a stucco-like finish would need to be added to the exterior. In December, officials completed a short-term fix with excavation and waterproofing around one section.

That estimate only includes repairs that would keep the building operational, not improvements, Schork said.

“At first it was depressing, thinking, ‘How are we going to repair all this?' she said, but an entirely new structure could eliminate duplicate services by accommodating fitness classes and team practices in the gym, programs at the library and possibly even the township and tax offices.

“I see the day-to-day operations, I write the bills for the utilities … I see the amount of money that's going out with the rec center,” she said.

Stacey Federoff is a writer for Trib Total Media

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