Repairs on the Rochester Public Library’s auditorium are expected to start Monday.

“The auditorium is a heavily used community resource,”  Library Director Audrey Betcher said. “Having it repaired is essential for both the work we do as a library, but also for the work we do alongside our many community partners.”

The auditorium, other library meeting spaces, storage, and staff areas were all heavily damaged when a water softener malfunctioned during the night on Sept. 22, sending more than 3,500 gallons of water into the building.

According to Betcher, Knutson Construction will repair the auditorium, with work expected to last through early December.

“Due to the necessity of the auditorium, we were able to start work on that project while we work through the formal bidding process for the rest of the repair work,” Betcher said.

Carpet, ceiling tiles, and walls were heavily damaged in the central portion of the library, which will be part of a larger repair project. Cost estimates are still unknown, as the formal bidding process hasn’t begun.

“We’re not sure how much it will be, but we are working with the city’s insurance provider to cover the work,” Betcher said.

The library’s second floor is still only partially open, but most services have been restored.

With the auditorium and other spaces out of commission, several events originally scheduled at the library have been moved to offsite locations, including the Mayo Civic Center, Rochester Art Center, and Quarry Hill Nature Center. A full list of library activities and events can be found at www.rplmn.org/events.

While the auditorium work is starting today, the library is closed in observance of Veterans' Day. 

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