Westborough library project price tag approaches $37 million


Westborough library project price tag approaches $37 million
Plans to update the Westborough Public Library were on display during the Open House on Sept. 9. (Photo/Maureen Sullivan)

WESTBOROUGH – It could cost a lot more to rebuild the Westborough Public Library.

Numbers provided by Library Director Maureen Amyot to the Select Board on Sept. 14 show an updated estimated price tag of $36,698,556. A grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) of $9,403,090 – which is provisional on approval of the project from residents at the fall Town Meeting – would bring the costs down to $27,295,466.

This updated figure is a significant increase from the previous estimate conducted in 2016, which projected a total cost of $23,998,140 without the state grant.

According to Amyot, the largest driver was construction costs, which went from $18,072,739 to $27,552,008. There were also hikes in costs for professional services, moving to a temporary site and a contingency fund.

The costs, Amyot said, “may be adjusted downward as we get further into the design work next year, but the numbers presented [Tuesday] night are the ones we will be presenting at Town Meeting.”

The proposed library project

The plans, which are still in the early stages, would call for a teardown of the Westborough Public Library’s 1980 addition and a complete makeover of the original 1908 building.

The original building would have its windows, heating/cooling systems and roof replaced. The new three-floor addition would include a children’s patio, restrooms on every floor, a larger teen area, more storage, and more room for the Local History Center.

Should these plans not pass muster, Amyot presented a “base repair” budget of $18,954,739, which would cover major repairs to the library, but would not qualify for the state grant.

“This project is not getting less expensive,” she said.

Amyot said there is a possible funding source to help with the extra costs. She said the state has $2 billion in unspent funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. She asked the Select Board to sign a letter asking the governor and state legislators for $50 million in supplemental funds for library building projects statewide.

There are two separate articles on the warrant for Town Meeting in October related to the library project. One of the articles seeks funds for the library project and would authorize the town to accept the MBLC grant.

If approved, the second article would establish dimensional zoning regulations for the library. 

For updates, visit https://www.westboroughlibrary.org/about/building-project/.


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