Library Building Committee updates selectmen on expansion project

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By Melanie Petrucci, Contributing Writer

Westborough – At the July 19 Board of Selectmen meeting, the Library Building Committee, along with Eric Moore, architect from Lamoureux and Pagano, and Peter Collins, the project OPM (Owner’s Project Manager), updated selectmen on the status of proposed expansion and renovation of the library. Library Building Committee members include Chair Ed Baldwin, Dorothy Mello, John T. Arnold, Dexter Blois, Leigh Emery and Library Director Maureen Ambrosino.

Ambrosino explained the need for the rebuild, citing the changing uses and expectations of today’s libraries, the need for more meeting space, a designated teen space separate from the designated children’s room, more restrooms, and updated technology and mechanical systems. She noted that the committee toured many libraries and based on those comparisons, as well as responses from a focus group and a community survey, the main priority was clear – the physical space needed to be updated and upgraded.

Working with the guidelines set forth by the grant program from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC), the committee envisions a library in its current location. It is a highly visible focal point and sits on the edge of the West Main Street Historic District and is in close proximity to local schools. It should fit in architecturally and serve as a warm and welcoming hub of the community for residents and visitors utilizing its indoor, outdoor and virtual spaces.

Moore presented the scope and process of the project, the proposed expansion needs and a walk-through of the schematic options previously presented to the Building Committee and Library Board of Trustees. The plans presented included pros and cons with the primary objective of meeting the guidelines of the MBLC grant program. One schematic rose to the top and met all the criteria while adhering to the MBLC guidelines. The preliminary total budget is $18,730,212 which includes construction, associated costs and contingencies.

Collins further explained the budget and the timeline of the next steps. The project will go before other town boards and committees in the next couple of months prior to going before Town Meeting in October for grant application approval. The grant application is due to the MBLC in January followed by their awarding which will take place in July 2017. Once the grant is awarded, the project will go before Town Meeting again in October 2017 for funding approval.