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Library's Expansion  | Newspaper Articles

Leominster library project to start

Matthew Bruun, T&G STAFF, February 16, 2004

LEOMINSTER- Ground should be broken in November on an enlarged and renovated Leominster Public Library, and the search has begun for a site to house the facility's collection during 16 months of construction.

Library Director Susan T. Shelton said Beacon Architectural Associates of Boston had been awarded the design contract for the $10.8 million job.

The architectural firm's fee is approximately $770,000, or 9.26 percent of the construction cost, Purchasing Agent Gregory C. Chapdelaine said in a recent interview. The construction cost for the library is $8.3 million, with just over $3 million from a state grant.

The remainder of the tab includes furniture, architectural and interior design fees and a temporary library site, among other expenses, Mr. Chapdelaine said Friday.

Ms. Shelton said Beacon Architectural Associates had more than 40 years experience in the state, and its portfolio includes institutions of higher learning as well as private commercial work.

"Renovations and additions to historic libraries and public projects that reinvigorate city centers are a specialty of this team," according to a prepared statement from the firm.

Ms. Shelton said the recently appointed Library Building Committee had just begun reviewing the 3-year-old schematic drawings for an enlarged library facility with the architects.

The committee includes Ms. Shelton, Jim Andrews, Mark Bodanza, former Mayor John McLaughlin, Susan A. Chalifoux Zephir and library trustees Carol Millette and Gil Tremblay. Library Board of Trustees Chairman Robert D. Allen is ex officio a member of the committee.

The membership will work with the architects through June on final designs for the expansion and renovation. The current 20,000-square-foot library at 30 West St. will more than double in size, to 44,513 square feet. Of that, 35,000 square feet will be new construction, and the addition built in 1966 will be demolished.

"We hope to go out to bid in early fall, and we hope to begin construction in November," Ms. Shelton said. If all goes according to plan, the expanded facility will open its doors in February 2006 in time for the library's 150th anniversary.

Among the features of the new library will be a 130-seat auditorium, a larger public meeting space and a separate room for the audio-visual collection. The original West Street entrance will be reopened, although most visitors will enter from the enlarged Pearl Street parking lot.

Two nearby houses are slated for demolition to make way for the expansion, since the city has so far found no takers willing to move them off the site, Mr. Chapdelaine said.

Ms. Shelton said the West Street site will be vacated during the construction work, and the search for a temporary alternative site is now under way.

She said she is hoping to find a handicapped-accessible site within 1 to 2 miles of downtown with adjacent parking. Its floors will need to be able to hold 150 pounds per square foot, and the facility also will need to have the wiring capacity to handle the library computer network, she said.

How much of the library's collection will be moved to the temporary site has not been determined, Ms. Shelton said, though she expects new books, the audio-visual collection and children's programs all will remain immediately available to the public.
 

 
 
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