After the Victoria Public Library was battered by hurricane-force winds, protected only by wooden panels that didn’t cover all of its windows, the City sought funding to ensure that the building would be better fortified in the event of another monster storm.
The City has received a subgrant from the Texas Division of Emergency Management to install 83 rolling shutters on the windows and glass doors at the Victoria Public Library. TDEM will pay $262,513.50 toward the total cost of the project, while the City will pay the remaining $87,504.50. The shutters will be used to protect the library from the type of strong wind and rain that it endured during Hurricane Harvey.
As Hurricane Harvey closed in with little warning, City workers scrambled to protect the library’s windows using wooden panels, but because the process of putting the panels up manually was so time-consuming, they only had time to protect the windows on the east and south sides of the building, said library Director Dayna Williams-Capone.
Williams-Capone recalled driving past the library after an emergency City Council meeting that evening and realizing that despite the City’s best efforts to secure the building, some parts of the library would be exposed to the elements.
Williams-Capone, along with other staff members, made a commitment to restoring the library, stating, “We’re going to have to deal with the damage that comes.” This grant has enabled staff to follow through on that commitment and to be prepared for the next storm that threatens the Victoria Public Library.
Rainwater penetrated the seals surrounding even the covered windows, damaging walls and carpeting inside the building. Harvey’s winds blew hardest against the protected side of the building, meaning that under different circumstances, the damage could have been much worse.
The new rolling panels will be able to be activated automatically and include a manual override option in the event of a power outage. Hardening the building will not only protect the library and its contents from storm damage but will make it safer, raising the possibility that the library could become an option for sheltering in place in the future.
On Feb. 11, City staff will attend a kickoff meeting with TDEM and GrantWorks to discuss the process of implementing the grant.