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Voters approve bond sale for new Hodgkins Library building 

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By Bob Bong 

Voters in Hodgkins overwhelmingly approved the sale of $5.5 million in bonds to build a new library building in Tuesday’s referendum.

Voters voted 3-1 in favor of the bond sale with 153 “yes” votes to only 75 “no” votes with the lone precinct in town reporting. Turnout was 25 percent. Results will not be official until the canvass later this month.

Library Director Tim Prendergast said the bond sale was necessary because a structural inspection late last year showed the steel structurer holding up the roof was rusting badly and would eventually fail.

He said library officials were originally hoping – back in 2019 – to put an addition on the library, which was built in 1980.

Those plans were put on hold when the pandemic hit.

Plans were revived in the fall of 2021 to explore a renovation and modest expansion.

“While we were exploring our options, we found significant problems with the building infrastructure,” Prendergast said.

“Engineers said repairing the damage would cost more than constructing a new building,” he said.

The problem was created by construction shortcuts in 1980 and long-term failure of the exterior cladding. An inadequate vapor barrier allowed moisture to seep behind the cladding for more than four decades, which caused the rusting. The leaking also damaged the insulation and first layer of drywall.

“So, we had to pivot from renovation and expansion to needing a new building,” Prendergast said.

Prendergast said plans are for a new state-of-the-art building with a lifespan of more than 40 years.

Plans call for a new building that would be almost 3,000 square feet bigger than the existing library at 10,500 square feet compared to 7,600 square feet.

Prendergast said the new library will allow independent study space not available at the current library. The new building would be energy efficient, conform to ADA standards for the disabled, and have modern IT and computer capabilities.

The bond sale will have an effect on taxpayers.

“We estimate that the sale will cost the owners of a $250,000 house about $110 per year,” Prendergast said. “We have a calculator on the library website, so homeowners can figure out how much the bond sale will affect them.”

He said the village’s large commercial district will help hold down costs for taxpayers.

He said the library district will plan to pay off the bond sale over the next 20 years.

Construction of the new library will take about a year once ground is broken.

The Hodgkins Library District is open to all village residents and also has patrons from neighboring Indian Head Park, Countryside and Burr Ridge.

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