February 10, 2021
ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands- The Office of Disaster Recovery announces the obligation of $2,902,538 by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Public Assistance Program (FEMA) to the Department of Planning and Natural Resources to complete repairs to the Charles W. Turnbull Regional Library on St. Thomas.
The three-story, 40,000 square foot facility was impacted by strong winds and wind-driven rain and debris when Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the Territory. Rain intrusion on the second floor caused by damage to the roof and windows compromised interior components and systems.
Now that the project is obligated, architecture and engineering work will commence in preparation to put the project out to bid.
Department of Planning and Natural Resources Commissioner Jean P. Oriol expressed his gratitude to FEMA and the Office of Disaster Recovery for their support. “We welcome this assistance in restoring our libraries. Public libraries are a critical resource in the development of our students and the Bryan/Roach administration is committed to getting all of our libraries reopened.”
The funds will be used to restore the facility to its pre-disaster condition by installing new roofing materials, ceiling tiles, interior walls, light fixtures, solar panels and guttering. Public archives and other collections will receive document remediation services, fully restoring a number of archival materials, books, photographs and negatives, framed artwork, documents, paintings and microfiche.
“A library is a key component of a healthy and successful community,” remarked FEMA Acting Recovery Director John Covell. “The materials and resources available at public libraries play an important role in giving people of all ages a chance to enhance their lives and in turn their community.” Mr. Covell continued, “FEMA is very pleased to have the opportunity to fund the restoration of this very important facility for the citizens of the USVI.”
The largest of the public libraries on St. Thomas, named in honor of former Governor Charles Wesley Turnbull, features a conference room, auditorium, computer lab, and various collections, including public archives and records.
“The Office of Disaster Recovery thanks FEMA for this award,” said Office of Disaster Recovery Director Adrienne L. Williams-Octalien. “This is the second library to receive funding from FEMA’s Public Assistance Program. The Territory is expecting $5.8M to repair public libraries in both districts.”
The Office of Disaster Recovery
“Building a Legacy of Resilience”