Coral Gables

Broken air conditioner at Coral Gables Library to be fixed soon

Coral Gables Library at 3443 Segovia St.
Coral Gables Library at 3443 Segovia St. Miami Herald Staff

Perspiring patrons at the Coral Gables Library should have some relief soon as the branch’s air conditioner is set to be operational again this week.

A broken compressor left the library’s air-conditioning unit out of commission for about five weeks, and multiple fans were placed throughout the library, with hopes that they would relieve readers.

The new compressor part arrived Friday, and workers began removing the old one.

Some patrons, such as Coral Gables resident Leo Bueno, said that despite their love for the library, they couldn’t stand the heat.

“I refrained from going to the library because it was an uncomfortable situation in which to read,” Bueno said.

Raymond Baker, an assistant director for the county library system, said he recognized that the temporary units weren’t a preferred fix, but the compressor part proved difficult to obtain.

“This isn’t just a $200 part that you can call your local trade company to come in and fix,” Baker said.

The compressor took about two to three weeks to acquire before it was shipped to South Florida. The part cost about $23,000, according to Baker. The county began the solicitation process when the compressor failed Aug. 28, but had to restart the process in mid-Septmber due to a vendor not meeting specifications.

“Sometimes the parts are hard to find; they’re older systems,” Baker said. “Getting the part was the main issue.”

The library system hopes to preemptively identify damaged units in the future, and Baker said air conditioners at multiple branches are set for repairs and full replacements.

“We’re trying to line up as many of them as we can for repair before we have a breakdown,” Baker said.

Miami-Dade County’s budget includes $580,000 for construction at the Coral Gables Library branch to purchase and replace the building’s air-conditioning chiller.

Patrons including Bueno hope the process for fixing the units can be expedited in the future.

“I have a deep love of public libraries so it kind of pained me to see them denying people comfort,” Bueno said.

Lance Dixon: 305-376-3708, @LDixon_3