Westborough Library to receive major building grant award in 2022

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By Dakota Antelman, Managing Editor

Photo by/Dakota Antelman

WESTBOROUGH – Efforts to renovate the Westborough Public Library are moving forward after library staff learned they will receive long-awaited grant funding.

The library announced in a Sept. 8 press release that they will be awarded money from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners’ building and renovation grant program in July of next year.

“In the years since [the building and renovation grant] was first announced in 2017, other towns ahead of ours have received or declined their grants; and finally the Westborough Public Library is in the number one spot,” library staff wrote. 

Library Director Maureen Amyot previously told the Community Advocate in February of last year that the library’s 1980 addition, which houses circulation and the adult collection, would be removed in a new renovation project. The children’s room would be relocated to the renovated third floor, she said. The 112-year-old building’s historic front portion would remain.

The plans Amyot described at that time would add about 16,000 square feet of space, racking up a price tag of approximately $23.9 million.

Now with their timeline for partial state funding of this project, the library has laid out its next steps. 

The Library Building Committee will reconvene this fall. At that time, the committee will begin the search for an Owner’s Project Manager.

At some point early next year, the manager and architect will work with the committee to find a construction manager and start developing a design and a new estimated cost. 

The updated cost estimate will be shared with the public next summer. The library will then hold meetings to review the design and cost before seeking approval at Town Meeting.

Construction grants generally pay between 45 and 50 percent of project costs, according to the Board of Library Commissioners’ website. The grants are aimed at supporting “major capital improvement projects, including constructing a new public library, expanding and renovating an existing library building, or adapting and reusing another building for use as a library.”

Nine communities won funding in the Board of Library Commissioners last round of construction grants in 2016-2017. Payouts ranged from $3.9 million for a project in Hadley to $12 million paid toward a project in Weymouth.