Plans need to constantly be reevaluated and adjusted as new information is discovered. Such is the case with the Thompson property and building. GCPL is considering numerous solutions, pursuing the best and most cost-effective ones.

We all do the best with the information available to us at the time. We have a plan of action and we are on the track toward the end goal, but something happens to the track and we have to reassess. It’s problem-solving 101.  

As has been reported, GCPL is moving forward with new buildings in Thompson and Bainbridge to better serve our patrons. We’ve had numerous meetings with architects, designers, builders, and our administrative team. We’ve shared our status updates with the community and have incorporated citizen feedback. And, earlier this month, we received some unexpected news about the Thompson property.  

Our selected site on which to build the new Thompson Branch had something unusual show up in the soil boring samples. It was recommended that we dig test pits to verify what was underground. The test pits revealed “fill material” at depths ranging from 1 foot to 7 feet below existing site grades including brick, masonry block, concrete, and wood.  

So, we now find ourselves in a quandary. The area on which we planned to build the new Thompson Branch consists of rubble from a previous building, covered with dirt, rendering it unsuitable to be the foundation of a new building.  

What does this mean? We would have to dig out all that debris, haul it away, and then bring in dump trucks loaded with engineered fill that could be compacted and foundation ready. This is all very expensive ranging from an additional $150,000 up to $750,000 or more should we find hazardous materials.  

A possible solution would be to move the building site north on the parcels to the relatively flat and very elevated “football field” area. This solution created a new problem: Accessing this part of the property. We’re still on the track, but we need to reassess our options.  

This is another part of problem-solving: thinking outside the box. We knew there were vacant properties adjacent to the football field area but we didn’t know if the owners had any plans for these parcels. We reached out to one of the property owners, Mrs. Jan Koster who generously offered to donate her parcel to the library, giving us access to the north end of the field. What a blessing. GCPL is extremely grateful. 

Now, we are currently negotiating with the longtime owner of two additional small parcels that could open the whole north end. It will be considerable cost savings and turns out to be a far less cramped layout of the parking lot and outdoor gathering space. We don’t always know how it will end when we start problem-solving, but the process itself can be a rewarding experience. 

We’re continuing to work on solutions to bring the residents of the northeast corner of Geauga County a sound building that they will enjoy for generations to come. As we continue to work on this project, we will provide updates on this blog.