Grafton Public Library

Expansion Project FAQS

Q. I have strong opinions about this project. How can my voice be heard?

A. Wonderful! DRA will be hosting a print (and online) survey, a series of focus groups and community meetings. The Library Planning and Building Committee currently meets on the first and third Monday of the month and all meetings are public. In the interim, we invite online public commenting, feedback to the Chair of the Planning and Building Committee, via the Town website, or to the Library director, Beth Gallaway, via email at

Q.How big is the new library going to be?

A. The Building Committee is working closely with architectural firm Drummey Rosane Anderson Inc. (DRA) to design a nimble 21,000-25,000 sq. foot facility that will encompass the MA Board of Library Commissioner’s (MBLC) requirements for seating, shelving and parking for 20 years to come.

Q. How much will the new library cost?

A. DRA works with a professional cost estimator; it is too early to tell how much the project will cost. DRA has a strong record of coming in on time and under budget with low incidence of change orders.

Q. What’s wrong with the current building?

A. The current library building was built in 1927 for a population of 6,000 residents. Since then, our population has tripled and we are projected to have 22, 122 residents by 2035, based on 2010 US census projections done by the Central MA Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC). Library use has increased exponentially over the last 5 years, with attendance, materials checkout and programs soaring.

The current building lacks dedicated meeting space, program rooms, teen space, quiet study space, and staff workspace, because in 1927 we only needed an office for a part-time librarian to work a few hours per week checking out a collection of just 5,000 items. We now have:

  • 44,000 items in print and multimedia formats
  • 15 staff members
  • 58 hours of operation a week

Additionally, the plumbing, steam heat, and electrical systems in the building are original, along with the windows and brick facade. Most code issues, such as exit signs, were addressed in 2013 with the accessibility renovation, but adding emergency lighting did not equate to ripping out all of the original copper wiring. While the administration and Board of Trustees have striven to be excellent stewards of the building and have made a number of repairs over the last 90 years, there are many large scale capital issues at present including energy efficient lighting, window repair and replacement, and brick repointing, as well as zone heating and cooling, expanded security camera coverage, climate controlled space for historical materials, comfortable seating, and more.

Q. Didn’t we just spend a half a million dollars making the Library accessible?

A. We did, with the understanding that this was a temporary and incomplete solution to a long-term issue. In 2013, LLB Architects designed and implemented an accessible entrance (without an automatic door opener), a sloped path for walkers and wheelchairs, an additional handicapped parking spot, an accessible washroom, and a limited use limited access (LULA) Lift for people who are physically impaired. The Library removed shelving and tables to meet MIIA code, and lost space with this renovation.

The mezzanine stacks, high shelving, and Children’s room stage remain inaccessible to anyone in a wheelchair, and a variance was granted for these spaces. Approximately 80% of the collection is not available through autonomous means. Computer desks and tables are not adjustable. The Down Under Book Store and first floor restrooms are inaccessible.

It’s possible that some of the 2013 renovation can be salvaged, but the LULA is difficult to use and unlike a full service elevator, is not intended for book carts, deliveries (freight), or strollers.

Q. You aren’t getting rid of the Main Reading Room are you?! 

A. No.We have hired DRA Inc to develop a plan for an expansion/renovation so we can apply for a state grant (MA Public Library Construction Grant) to pay for half the cost of the project. The grant requires a whole building renovation, which means the renovation should touch every aspect of the old and new building while meeting current building code, MIIA code and historical commission codes.

Q. Where will the new library go?

A. The current site is the only option for the expanded facility. Other sites were explored in previous feasability studies.



Architect FAQs

Q. Is the Library an individual or contributing building to the Grafton Common Historic District?

A. The Library is a contributing building to the Grafton Historic District. Please see the MA Historical Commission’s Sheet on the Library Page 1 / Page 2

Q. How strictly does the design have to comply with state and local historical?

A. Strictly. Compliance at the local, state,and  federal level is required. We have a liaison from Grafton Historical Commission on the Library Planning and Building Committee.

Q. Would the hired architect stay for future project?

A. The Town of Grafton will procure architectural services again at the end of the project should the Town receive a grant award, through MGL 7C Public Bidding for Project Design.

Q. What other buildings on the Common have been renovated?

A. Other renovated buildings include:

  • One Grafton Common (Grafton Townhouse) renovations include addition and full service elevator, safety and other code updates
  • Two Grafton Common (Grafton Country Store)
  • 25 Grafton Common (Grafton Inn/Hunter’s Grille & Tap) interior renovations
  • Congregational Church (interior, LULA, exterior painting)
  • Baptist Church (painting)

Q. Is there any reason why the topographic survey that was included as part of the 2010/2011 grant application could not be reused for the current project? (i.e. Have there been any significant changes to the property in the past 5 years?) I realize the MBLC requires a survey within the past 5 years, but this type of update is relatively straightforward.

A. Per scope of the RFP, stamped topographic land survey delineating boundary lines for entire site is to be included in the library building project. The prior project’s survey is out of date.

Q. Who prepared the 2010/2011 topographic survey? Can you make this document available for review?

A. Land Planning Inc did a Phase I survey for the Superpark project. The Town has a permit good through 2018 based on this survey. Town GIS maps are online at

Q. Are hazmat consulting services to be included in the $75,000 fee? Please clarify role of architect (Item #6 on page 5 of the RFP says that the architect will “coordinate execution” of these services, which could be interpreted as being procured outside the architectural services contract.)

A. Per scope of the RFP, the Architect will coordinate execution of the hazardous materials survey report; the Town will pay the cost of the hazardous materials survey.

Q. Was a hazmat survey performed in 2010/2011, and if so, by who?  Can you make this document available for review?

A. We are unable to find any hazmat surveys.

Q. Has any hazmat remediation been undertaken since the 2010 report?

A. No – we are unable to find any hazmat surveys.

Q. Is there brownfields that we need to be concerned about?

A. There are no brownfields to be concerned about.

Q. Who prepared the 2010/2011 geotech report?  Can you make this document available for review?

A. Land Planning, Inc prepared the Geotechnical Report in 1996. It is too old to use and a new geotechnical survey must be conducted.

In 2006, Irwin Engineers conducted a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment. Document is available for review, and in 2006, CMG Environmental reviewed the Phase II Environmental Site Assessment by Synapse Risk Management on parcel 90 only, an adjacent lot. Documents available for review:

Q. Is there any reason why the geotech report and boring logs that were included as part of the 2010/2011 grant application could not be reused for the current project?

A. Yes — the previous project included a Geotechnical report that was already nearly out of date. A new survey must be conducted.