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Preservation Concerns in Planning a Records Center
Courthouses and city halls throughout Missouri are experiencing a constant growth in the volume of paper documents, microfilm, and other types of records they must house and access. Many counties and cities have determined that offsite storage of non-current records is the most cost-effective strategy. They quickly discover, however, that typical, low-cost warehouse storage is not appropriate for permanent records. The preservation of permanent records requires higher standards in areas such as environmental control (temperature and humidity), security, and fire protection. Some entities have located existing buildings (banks, libraries, or other commercial facilities) that can be adapted for record storage; others have designed purpose-built facilities.
Within this program, local officials will find preservation recommendations dealing with the following areas:
- site selection
- structural issues: roof, gutters, and downspouts, floors and floor coverings, windows, and landscaping
- environmental control: temperature, relative humidity, light, and integrated pest management
- storage and shelving systems
- use policies
- disaster prevention: fire protection, protection against water damage, earthquake preparedness, security
- planning strategies
This presentation is only designed to address factors that affect the longevity and protection of government records. Planners must explore other aspects of construction/renovation as well, such as life-safety codes and structural and engineering concerns.
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