Little Falls Library Re-Opening Delayed

Water main break causes damage to electrical and mechanical systems


Aaron Kraut

A Dec. 7 water main break will force a delay in the re-opening of the Little Falls Library, which had been set for January after renovations were completed, according to a Montgomery County press release.

The library, at 5501 Massachusetts Ave., Bethesda, closed in July for a renovation project that was expected to last about six months.

According to library officials, a 4-inch pipe that supplies the library’s fire-fighting systems broke and flooded the building’s electrical and mechanical systems. The pipe was an old cast iron pipe, which is prone to breaking, libraries spokeswoman Judy Stiles said.

She said the county did not know the cost of repairing the damage, but should have an estimate by early next week.

The repairs are significant and need to be completed before the work can restart on the “refresh” project, Stiles said. Some of the repairs need to be made outside of the building, and winter weather could affect the timing of those repairs, she said.

The “refresh program” was to include painting and the installation of new carpeting and furniture, as well as new layouts to help accommodate digital media and computer labs, according to library officials.

The Little Falls project also was expected to require asbestos abatement. The building is nearly 60 years old and is one of the oldest public facilities that Montgomery County owns.

The state provided the county $800,000 to renovate the library as well as the Davis Library at 6400 Democracy Blvd., Bethesda. The projects were part of the county library department’s broader plan to renovate or refurbish three libraries annually.

The county finished its first library refresh project in February at the Twinbrook branch in Rockville after a six-month closure. That project cost about $1 million. The Kensington Park Library reopened earlier this year after a $780,000 refresh project.

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