On the last full day of winter, workers were busy making sure the Delaware County District Library's main branch could keep its cool.
Workers from Columbus-based Applied Mechanical Systems braved the wind and the rain Wednesday morning, March 19, to replace the building's old chiller.
A 40-foot crane was used to hoist the 5,000-pound piece of equipment before it was replaced with a new unit brought in from California.
Library district spokeswoman Shea Alltmont said the old chiller was installed in 1991 to provide air conditioning to the 32,000-square-foot building on East Winter Street.
"We think that's a pretty good run for a chiller that's cooling a facility of this size," she said.
The cost of the new unit and installation is expected to be roughly $75,000.
Alltmont said library officials weighed buying a new unit against keeping the old chiller and paying thousands of dollars annually in maintenance costs.
She said, ultimately, purchasing the new chiller was seen as an investment that would save money over time.
Alltmont said library patrons likely will not notice the difference after the new chiller is installed -- unless they've been in the library during one of the old chiller's occasional breakdowns.
"It will just be way more efficient at cooling the facility than the current unit," she said.
Alltmont said problems with the old chiller were always fixed promptly, and the library never closed because of a prolonged lack of air conditioning.
Alltmont said the chiller is vital to the operation of the library because the facility serves as a cooling center for the community during times of extreme heat.
"It's important for us being a community partner, especially during (emergencies)," she said.