By Vicki Greene, Contributing Writer
Marlborough — Marlborough Public Library recently hosted three public information sessions to review the new exterior and interior design for the construction and expansion project slated to “have shovels in the ground in January of 2021,” according to Library Director Margaret Cardello. She was joined by R. Drayton Fair of LLB Architects to review the design and answer questions from the public. The new design keeps the historical Carnegie Building on W. Main Street intact and the total square footage will increase by approximately 16,000 square feet, Cardello noted.
“The project is on schedule,” Cardello told the crowd of approximately 30 people at the Feb. 12 public information session.
Questions regarding additional parking and accessibility to the new entrances to the building, were asked by many in attendance. According to Fair’s plan there is nothing in the current design for additional parking “at this stage.” His exterior drawings, which drew “oohs and ahhs” from the crowd, showed large glass windows and a courtyard with benches at the main entrance.
With respect to parking, there are currently 22 parking spots and the plans include four handicapped spots. The only open public entrance will be on Witherbee Street. The city has purchased three properties to make way for the project; 28 Witherbee St. and 49 W. Main St. which abut the current library property and 29 Witherbee St. which is across the street from the main entrance. Fair’s designs show that the two abutting properties will be used in the construction and expansion and he said they are working with the city on the use of the property across Witherbee for additional parking however; nothing has been finalized yet.
Fair’s design shows a three-level building; two levels plus a below ground space. The first floor will add a café area with vending machines acting as a spot for people to gather to eat though will not be a commercial café. On the first floor there will be a public elevator inside the entrance, the café, circulation, staff rooms, a reference desk, a local Marlborough history room, a quiet study area and restrooms. There will be tutoring rooms varying in size and able to serve two to 20 patrons.
The second floor will include three areas each dedicated to Pre-School, Children and Young Adults. The addition of a Children’s Programming room, according to Fair, can seat up to 200 or can be partitioned off depending on the program. He explained that glass walls will partition off the Pre-School area for security and safety reasons.
He explained that there due to the grading at the main entrance, there will be a walkway from the main parking lot directly to the Children’s Programming door, however, for security, that door will be locked when there are no programs in session at the discretion of library staff.
The plan calls for a city meeting room in the below ground level along with storage and mechanicals. The plan allows for the City and public groups to book meetings in that room.
The $23.7 million total cost of the project includes a $10.1 million grant the project received from the Massachusetts Library Building Commission.
The current plan calls for the construction to be completed in the summer of 2022.