Groundbreaking for Library Renovation & Expansion Project
The public is invited to attend a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday, Nov. 6, at 10:30 a.m. at 35 Grafton Common to kick off the multi-million-dollar renovation and expansion of the Grafton Public Library. The event will be held rain or shine.
Architects Drummey Rosane Anderson designed the estimated $16.6 million project under the aegis of the Library Planning and Building Committee. The project will transform the circa-1928 building into a modern 26,000 square-foot library designed to meet the current population needs and expected population growth for the next 20 years.
The project team includes Ken Best, principal architect at Drummey Rosane Anderson; general contractor CTA Construction of Waltham; Mark Sullivan, D.A. Sullivan & Sons of Northampton whose owner is also the project manager; and Clerk of the Works, Andy Deschenes.
In July 2017, the town was awarded a $7.4 million grant from the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP) administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) or 48% of eligible estimated costs to fund the project.
The town’s share of the project funding is about $9.2 million. A capital campaign has been formed to support the building project and has received pledges and donations in excess of a quarter of a million dollars.
“We are excited and proud to build this renovated and expanded library as proof of our commitment to providing enrichment to all visitors,” said Tim McInerney, Grafton town administrator. “Everyone will continue to enjoy a place of learning and exploration where all are welcome. We appreciate the support of our excellent library programming. This updated facility will let us preserve our past and serve all future generations.”
The building project includes preserving the front section of the circa-1928 library with an entrance on the Grafton Common. The upper level (Common entrance) will include the historic main reading room, showcasing beautiful original Palladian windows and woodwork, as well as meeting rooms, collections and services for adults. The lower level (Upton Street entrance) will house youth services space and collections, including a children’s program room, a teen-tween program and gaming rooms, several tutoring rooms, and mechanical and electrical equipment rooms.
The expansion will provide updated spaces found in modern libraries including a large community meeting room, study rooms, tutoring spaces, teen and tween areas, a children program room, local history room, Friends of the Library book sale space, expanded areas for nonfiction and fiction collection and a patio.
“We are thrilled to be able to provide new services that the community has been requesting for a long time, especially meeting space,” said Library Director Beth Gallaway. “The 117-seat community room will be available for local organizations and other groups to use. We’ll be able to hold our own programs on site, have enough shelf space to archive and display materials, and provide more public access computers.”
The project began in October 2016 when the Library received the town’s permission to apply for a grant through the MPLCP and hire an architect to create a schematic design for the grant application. Ms. Gallaway applied for the grant in January 2017. In May 2017, town meeting voters approved the preliminary design, voted to accept the grant and also approved raising matching funds for the project. The measure was passed at a town-wide election a few weeks later.
This past May, the town received $460,000 from the MBLC that may be used for partial payment of eligible costs. The library qualified for the early reimbursement because the MBLC designated the library under construction due to the Grafton Select Board’s decision to borrow the full amount of the project. This money was funded from undistributed MPLCP grants.
The library has relocated to a temporary site at 53 N. Main St., North Grafton, at the former St. Andrews Church. The library continues to offer the same services, and operating hours remain the same – Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The project is expected to be completed by late spring of 2021 and is partially funded by as state grant administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. Construction updates will be posted at www.graftonlibrary.org/thetimeisnow.