A crack that developed in a wall at the Archbold Community Library building is not a structural or safety issue.
That’s what Jay Budde, a member of the Archbold Library Board, told the board at its Wednesday, Dec. 14 meeting.
Budde, an engineer, said he examined the crack, which is located on the northwest corner of the building.
He said the crack runs from the top of an emergency exit door, along a joint in the brick.
The joint, known as a construction joint, allows for some movement in the building without cracking the bricks.
Budde said examination showed the wall north of the joint had moved about a quarter inch to the north, and had settled slightly.
That, he said, was known as differential movement.
Joyce Klingelsmith, library director, said the illuminated exit sign above the door does not work. That, Budde said, could be the result of wires being pulled loose by the movement of the wall. Or the bulb could be burned out.
Budde said the clay soils around Archbold are notorious for expansion or contraction based on the amount of moisture in the ground.
Also, when the library was built in 2000, three old houses were torn down to make way for the new building.
The northwest corner of the library sits over the crawl space of one of the old houses. The north wall of the library sits over what was the basement of another house.
The areas under the library’s walls were filled with engineered fill, and then compacted.
Budde produced a report showing specifications for overall compaction called for a figure of 95, but the northwest corner of the building was only compacted to a value of 93.
He said the movement of the wall is the result of “localized, minor sub-surface movement.”
At this point, Budde said the movement of the wall does not present a structural or safety issue, other than the illuminated exit sign does not work.
Budde recommended that the crack on the outside of the building be sealed, to prevent water from getting into the wall.
He noted that driving rains from the southwest could penetrate into the crack.
He recommended caulking the crack to seal it, and then monitoring the situation annually to watch for further movement.
If the crack becomes worse, the repair could cost tens of thousands of dollars, Budde warned.
The foundation of the building would have to be exposed by excavation. Then, the foundation itself would have be jacked into proper position.
Budde said Dave Geringer, an engineer based in Archbold, worked with him on the investigation. He said Geringer could recommend an engineering firm that deals specifically with soil issues.
“My recommendation is to caulk it, monitor it for a year, and if it moves more than a quarter inch, go to Plan B,” Budde said.
He did not specify what a “Plan B” would involve.–David Pugh