Proposed Shrewsbury library design is still too expensive
Library Building Costs Balloon! Now Estimated at $23.1 Million
On May 14th the Library Building Committee again recommended a Cadillac design for its new library proposal. It selected the most expensive of three options to present at Shrewsbury’s May 22th Special Town Meeting in order to get the necessary funding for further design work.
The recommended library design would demolish the former credit union, the 1979 west wing, and the 1923 Artemas Ward building. Only the 1903 Howe building would remain.
The only good news is that this design would eliminate the drive-up book drop-off window of the previous design, and this latest design is 10 percent smaller than the previous one.
But the bad news is very bad indeed.
(1) The estimated cost of the latest design is $23.1 million. Even with state reimbursement, this would burden Shrewsbury taxpayers with another $13 million of debt.
(2) Although the latest design is 10% smaller than the previous one, it will nevertheless cost $4 million more than the previous design, which the voters rejected.
(3) The architects now estimate construction costs at $600 per square foot. This is outrageous. Recently a library building project in another town was completed at a cost of only $400 per square foot.
In conclusion, the Shrewsbury Library Building Committee needs to curb its appetite for another costly project in these tough economic times. It must plan for the rapid decline in printed books. It needs to recognize and compensate for the rapid growth of the Internet learning and e-books that are replacing paper books.
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