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Library to Get Life-Safety Improvements

The Architect of the Capitol’s office is seeking $12.6 million in fiscal 2004 to improve a variety of physical safety and security issues at the Library of Congress, as well as improve its storage capabilities.

If approved, the Architect’s plans include the design and installation of prototype windows in the Library. The windows would be evaluated as part of the Capitol Police Department’s “Blast-Cad Study.”

Police spokeswoman Jessica Gissubel said she could not divulge any details about the study, such as whether other buildings in the Capitol complex would be included, because the study is a classified document.

Additionally, emergency lighting in the building would be upgraded and the Architect would complete a study of a “comprehensive smoke management system.”

The building’s drinking water system would be replaced “to ensure long-term safety and reliability of [the] water supply,” according to the appropriations request.

Bathroom exhaust systems would be replaced in the Thomas Jefferson Building to meet building-code requirements, and bathrooms in the John Adams Building would be renovated to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

A portion of the funds would also be used to further a long-term program designed to relieve overcrowding issues. The Library’s main collection gains about 1,200 items each day, or about 250,000 to 350,000 items each year.

The Library opened its first high-density storage facility at Fort Meade, Md., in November. The agency is scheduled to complete a second storage unit in 2005 and another two facilities in 2007.

The Architect’s request includes a study to plan and correct utility issues at the Fort Meade site.

The list of necessary fixes also include the repair or replacement of the Adams Building’s copper roof, which has developed leaks, and funds for the conservation of historic artwork located in the Library’s facilities.

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