City Council Work Session & Regular Meeting


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Meeting Date: 11/09/2020  
Submitted By: Teresa Herrera, City Secretary

Please see the attachment.
  • Library Board's Presentation
From: John Selmer 
Sent: Friday, October 9, 2020 2:19 PM
To: Lisa Denton <>
Subject: Palestine Building Evaluations

Good Afternoon, Lisa:

Apologies for my delay in getting back with you but I was out sick with allergies earlier this week and I have been playing catch up all week.  With that said, please see below for a brief summary of the building evaluations we made back on September 30, 2020.

Former Aerospace Fasteners Building @ 205 E Neches

Based on information found on the building this structure was built in approximately 1947.  Initial concerns about this building is the cut up nature of the floors and walls.  The building is not particularly tall and there are several grade (elevation) changes within the building.  With the low ceiling and structural heights, several areas feel quite squatty and would present economic issues attempting to transition from one level to the next via stairs and ramps.  Even now there are head height areas that do not appear to meet code.  There is concern about possible presence of asbestos containing material (ACM) within this building.  Based on floor tile sizes observed several tile areas could be ACM.  Other concerns could be lead based paint, mastic (floor glue), and lamps/light fixtures in some areas.  The electrical service appears to be quite dated and would need significant upgrade to provide sufficient needs for a new library.  There actually are limited plumbing fixtures in the building and this presents another cost issue in regards to providing the necessary plumbing fixtures to meet current adopted building codes.  Some of the different floor planes are not level and this presents another challenge to meet Texas Accessibility requirements.  There is a loading dock area at the rear of the building; however, the overall site does have limited parking to meet the needs of a library.

Overall, this building presents numerous challenges to prove a viable option to house a public library.  Currently there are accessibility issues on the exterior and interior of the building.  The presence of hazardous materials would present an additional cost for abatement on top of the purchase price.  And ultimately the location and listed issues makes it difficult to consider this building a possible new home for the library.

The Federal Building @ 101 E Oak Street

The Federal Building provides a building at first glance would ideally be suited for a public library.  However, after a closer look things begin to deteriorate and one wishes the building was in better shape and at a different location.  This building has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the US Department of the Interior.  Which indicates that if the project receives any specific Federal funds it will have to be used to restore and update the building to keep its original appearance.  In addition coordination and review will be required through SHPO as well.  On the exterior there is very little parking on site – approximately 6 spaces and off street parking.  This is too limiting for a public library.  It was suggested off a real estate website the building was less than 10,000 SF; however based on a Google Earth scale the building appears to be almost 6,000 SF per floor (first and second) and that does not include the loft area or the basement.  The first floor of this building has been renovated; however, the rest of the building is in severe need of much attention.  Most of the walls around the stairwell and second floor have peeling paint from interior and exterior walls.  This could be a sign of lead paint, but on the exterior it is more a sign of moisture in the exterior envelope.  There also appears to be ACM on the second floor.  There also appears to be signs of water damage from roof leaks and/or interior plumbing issues.  The structure appears to be wood framing and some floor areas present concerns to support the loading of stacks and other dead loads (and people live loads) that would be associated with a new library.  The existing stair does not adhere to current building code requirements and there is no elevator located within the building.  There are concerns over HVAC and electrical needs in the first floor (only occupied portion of the building at this point in time).

After review, this building probably is better suited to be developed as private lofts for living units.  The building envelope is suspect and all the windows need to be replaced in kind with double paned insulated units.  The windows could be repaired but that would not stop the windows from being a drain on energy consumption throughout the year for heating and cooling.  The exterior of the building is in much better condition but due to the potential for ACM, structural loading on the floors, vertical circulation, and overall certain hidden issues not available based on a visual observation – as mentioned previously, this building is probably better suited for private development for living units.  Parking is insufficient to meet the needs of a library.

Former Reagan School (home to Museum for E T Culture) @ 400 S Micheaux Avenue

Based on information found on the building this structure was built in approximately 1915.    This building has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the US Department of the Interior.  As such, as noted for the Federal the same issues would apply to this building as well.  The exterior of this building is in need of excessive work for brick cleaning, touching and repointing the masonry and window repair or replace.  However, once you make it through the museum space, there is a hidden gem inside that is the old school auditorium.  The space is stunning and for the most part if in decent condition.  It could obviously utilize some attention but immediately seeing the space you think of children activity, book readings, puppet shows, and even movies shown on the stage area.  This space is simply stunning.  The main corridors of the building appear to be concrete and the adjacent floors off of the corridor are wood framed.  Each floor is approximately 8,400 SF and the auditorium has a matching footprint of an old gym directly below that include an additional 6,000 SF for both spaces.  As such the building provides ample space to house a library.  Existing rooms are quite large and could accommodate different spatial areas and collections of the library.  There are some areas of concern over the wood floor that would need to be evaluated for providing the necessary support for book stacks and other library equipment.  There does appear to be an issue with the existing roof – large area in one room on the second floor has developed a recent leak.  The roof is a traditional “flat roof”’ however a new roof for the entire building could be provided for roughly $12.50/SF that would be approximately $140,000.  The building does not have an elevator but due to the ample size of the building, a specific area could be identified to house the elevator and a permanent elevator could be installed that would provide accessibility and connectivity between all floors.  Currently there is a parking lot associated with the building that holds approximately 33 cars.  Based on the assumed total square footage of the building, roughly 75 spaces would be required if the entire building were to be used for the library.  Ultimately a new parking lot could be provided on site on the opposite side of the building if needed or desired.

Of the three building observed, this building holds the most potential for the use as a library.  Some of the some issues and obstacles apply to all three buildings.  However, the auditorium holds a space in this building that needs to be used by the public.  An inspection for ACM should be performed to identify any hidden issues that could result in a costly abatement process.  The electrical and HVAC need to be reviewed and replaced or updated.  But from existing condition to optimum potential, this building is by far head and shoulders above the other two listed in this email.

Hopefully this hits the highlights of our tour and if you need anything else, please do not hesitate to give me a call.

Thanks and have a great weekend!


John E. Selmer, Architect, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C
No action necessary. Discussion only.
Library Board's Presentation


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