WESTBOROUGH – It’s a weekday afternoon at the Westborough Public Library.
Staff and patrons mill about; some patrons sit near the reference desk, perusing through banned and challenged books as part of Banned Books Week.
Around them stands a library that needs repairs and renovations – windows that leak; a slate roof missing tiles; electrical and heating systems that go on the fritz occasionally; one set of restrooms for the entire building, and the list goes on.
Just what makes it to the top of the library’s “to do” list is being determined by the Library Building Committee, with help from the architect, LPA|A, and the owner’s project manager, Vertex.
On Oct. 3, the committee received detailed information on four possible “scopes,” or scenarios, to repair the library.
According to Christina Bazelmans of LPA|A, the first scope would cover the “most requested” repairs; the second scope would add a few more items; the third scope would be full sustainability, including an all-electric HVAC system; and the fourth scope would be a “maximum rebuild.”
“Changes are possible,” said Bazelmans. “There could be a lot of mixing and matching.”
In the first two scopes, the roof would be repaired; in the other two scopes, the roof would be replaced.
Preliminary cost estimates, which would include construction, fees, temporary space for the library, contingency costs and more, range from $11.9 million for the first scope to $31.4 million for the “maximum rebuild.”
Over the next couple of months, the committee will decide which “scope” will advance into the schematic design phase. This will include how much it would cost.
“The lowest cost does not lead to better value,” said committee member Bob Petrucelli.
The committee would like to have this before the Annual Town Meeting in March 2024; the article would ask for funds to cover fees for the design development and construction documents for the building.
For the Fall Town Meeting on Monday, Oct. 16, the library will present an update on the repair project. It is also requesting a transfer of $24,265 from free cash for upgrades to its building management system. The request is Article 8 on the warrant.
According to Director Maureen Amyot, the upgrades will replace the software and hardware of the system that runs the HVAC.