Library's Expansion Project Update
The Building Committee is pleased to announce the selection of Beacon Architectural Associates in partnership with Adams & Smith LCC for the library’s $10.8M expansion and renovation project.
The team of Beacon Architectural Associates and Adams & Smith LCC reunites key principals from both firms with extensive public library experience. Frank Adams and Richard Smith of Adams & Smith have an on-going relationship spanning 20 years, and have planned and designed over 20 libraries in New England, including several in collaboration with Peter Byerly and Patrick Hayes of Beacon.
Beacon Architectural Associates has provided architectural services locally to institutions, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and commercial clients for over forty years. Peter Byerly of Beacon has assisted the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners in assessing projects for the past three rounds of library grants.
Renovations and additions to historic libraries and public projects that reinvigorate city centers are a specialty of this team.

Leominster library project to start
Matthew Bruun

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.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Leominster hoping to break ground on library expansion in November
By Lisa Guerriero
Sentinel & Enterprise

LEOMINSTER-- The planned expansion of the Leominster Public Library calls for the historical section of the building at 30 West St. to be preserved, said a member of the building committee.

John McLaughlin, a building committee member and a former city mayor and city councilor, said the building will double in size, from roughly 21,000 square feet to 44,513 square feet. "The library hasn't really changed in a lot of years, and it's open almost seven days week with the activities," McLaughlin said. "They're strapped for room. They're doing an excellent job, but it's very, very difficult because they're restrained by square footage." An average of 3,000 patrons visit the library weekly, according to the library Web site.

The oldest section of the facility was built in 1910 and is listed on the National Historic Register. "We would keep the oldest part and demolish the part that was built in the 1960s," McLaughlin said, noting the younger section would be costly to bring up to code.

City councilors voted unanimously last summer to approve the expansion, which is projected to cost more than $11 million. A grant from the state will provide a little more than $3 million for the project, with the rest to be generated through fund-raising and loans.

Beacon Architectural Associates of Boston is expected to complete the design for the expanded facility by the end of the summer, at a cost of $770,000. McLaughlin hopes to put plans out to bid and award a contract by the end of summer, in time to break ground before winter. "We want to start right now and get our footings in before the cold weather, so they can start construction," McLaughlin said.

The new facility will include an auditorium with seating for 120 people and rooms for technology.

Construction will take about 18 months, and the finished building will include entrances on Pearl Street and West Street. Parking will be increased from 24 to 65 adjacent spaces. During the 16 months of construction, the library will have to find a temporary home. "So far, there are no takers," McLaughlin said, noting the temporary space would have to accommodate the weight of books and other library collections. Meredith Foley, assistant to Library Director Susan Shelton, is heading up the subcommittee charged with finding the library a temporary home away from home.

McLaughlin said the project has been in the works for years. He acquired some land for the expansion during his tenure as mayor in the mid-1970s. "I figured some at point in time we could utilize it -- the city was growing, and so forth," he said. The city purchased additional properties near the library in 2001 and 2002. Two houses on these plots will be torn down to accommodate the library project.

McLaughlin said the library is an important component in attracting people downtown. "I'm a great believer in things being built downtown. Downtown is more or less for churches and municipal services; with shopping malls and so forth, business has moved," McLaughlin said. "Leominster downtown has shaped up well. It's looking better all the time."

Besides McLaughlin and Shelton, the library building committee includes Library Trustee Robert Allen, community member Susan Chalifoux, Leominster Purchasing Agent Gregory Chapdelaine, Attorney Mark Bodanza, FSC Engineering Professor Jim Andrews and several members of the Library Board of Trustees.