Library's Expansion | Newspaper Articles
Addition by subtraction at library
Robert Burgess, Sentinel & Enterprise, September 28, 2005
LEOMINSTER -- Spectators peered through the metal fence
surrounding the public library's West Street grounds to
watch the 1966 addition begin crashing to the ground
While viewers said they were excited to see the structure
come down -- the early stages of a $10.8 million renovation
of the 30 West St., facility -- few were disappointed to see
"It's been a white elephant for some time," said Gilbert
Tremblay, chairman of the Library Board of Trustees. "This
is one time you can say destruction is a constructive move."
The 1966 addition -- which outlived its design to serve the
community for 20 years -- should be fully demolished by the
end of the week, according to library director Susan
"I don't have any particular sentimental attachment to it,"
Shelton said of the addition, which faced Pearl Street until
Fontaine Brothers Inc., the project's general contractors
based out of Springfield, worked carefully Tuesday with
heavy construction equipment to tear out portions of the
grey-bricked addition without harming the original 1910
library that faces West Street.
Plans for the new library, which will take 15 months to
complete, call for restoration of the original structure,
which was built with seed money from Andrew Carnegie -- a
millionaire industrialist, philanthropist and early
supporter of free public libraries.
"I think the incorporation of the old building will make it
worthwhile," said Mark Bodanza, chairman of the library's
While watching a construction vehicle tear down bricks and
steel, Bodanza recalled being 10 years old when the 1966
"I have even greater memories of the 1910 building," he
said. "We wanted to create a space where the old is
compatible with the new."
Mayor Dean Mazzarella said the new library will be an
important component in the historic downtown of the city.
"It's vital not only for the downtown area but to the
surrounding streets," the mayor said as he watched the
demolition. "We get a library. They get a whole
Mazzarella watched the library addition come down while
talking with Joseph Fraticelli, whose 40 West St. accounting
office sits next door to the library.
Fraticelli said he sold the now demolished two-family home
he also owned adjacent to the library to help provide more
space for the new facility.
"It's a project that going to help us all," Fraticelli said,
adding that the noise of construction is a "small price to
pay" for a new library. "Once it gets done, it should
beautify the entire neighborhood."
The new two-and-a-half-floor facility will more than double
the library's space to 44,513 square feet.
The state Board of Library Commissioners has agreed to pay
$3,021,441 for the project. The city will pay $7.8 million.
Library officials still need to privately raise additional
money to pay for furniture, fixtures and equipment.
The library will remain at its temporary location at 690
Mechanic St. until the West Street facility reopens in late
2006 or early 2007.