WESTBOROUGH – Nearly three months after plans for an expansion and renovation were turned down at the Special Town Meeting, representatives from the Westborough Public Library came before the Advisory Finance Committee on Feb. 27.
This time, it was to discuss Article 12 of the March 25 Town Meeting warrant, which is a request to raise $347,959 to fund a building study and design costs for repairs to the library.
Library Director Maureen Amyot, Library Trustee Chair Mary Johnston and Library Building Committee Chair Ed Baldwin discussed the article.
According to Amyot and Johnston, the article is part of a three-phase process. Should the article pass and the funds provided, the results would be presented at Town Meeting either this fall or next spring.
The funding request for repairs could come in October 2024 or March 2025.
The reasons for repairs are a combination of an aging infrastructure; the need for ADA compliance; and deferred maintenance.
Most of the problems are known – a slate roof original to the 1908 building has broken and missing tiles; windows that cannot be opened because of rotting woodwork; an electrical system with no outlets to charge a phone or laptop.
“The needs are still there,” said Amyot.
In January, one of the fan units caught fire. Although quickly extinguished, that unit remains offline as the library decides on repairing the unit for $8,000, or replacing the unit for $25,000.
Amyot and Johnston pointed out that all the fan units are beyond their useful life.
“It was dire at Town Meeting, and it’s dire now,” said Amyot of the library’s condition.
Part of the proposed building study will determine how best to use – and perhaps reconfigure – the 1980 addition, now that it’s not being torn down. According to Amyot, there aren’t plans to add square footage.
“We want to do the absolute best with what we have,” said Amyot.
“We want to look at the benefits and tradeoffs,” said Baldwin.
The article will require a two-thirds vote at Town Meeting. Advisory Finance will be voting its recommendations on the warrant articles Monday, March 13.
Westborough Library Building Committee to ask for $347,000 for study