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Driving through town, you may wonder if that vacant building you pass will ever be occupied, why there’s no stoplight at a certain busy intersection, how long it takes to complete a road project or one of a million other questions about your town.
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Send your queries to Jennifer.Lucarelli@patch.com or leave them in the comments section below, and I will do my best to dig up an answer for you. You also can call me at 508-330-7763.
This week, a Shrewsbury Patch reader what the status is of the expansion project.
Library Director Ellen Dolan answered the following questions:
1. Can the town vote for the money again? If so, when would the town have to do to that?
Yes, if the decides to place the project before the voters again, the town could then vote on the local share of the funding for the project. (Town meeting and voter approval of the local share of the project cost is required in order to accept the state grant.)
The Board of Selectmen would determine the schedule for such a vote. The deadline for that vote would be determined by the date the state notifies us that the grant funds are available for Shrewsbury. Grant regulations allow six months after the state notification to obtain the local vote.
2. When could the money be available to the town from the state grant?
Under the current schedule for the state grant program, Shrewsbury is scheduled to be notified of grant funds availability sometime during fiscal year 2014 (July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014). Library and town officials are monitoring the grant release schedule, to determine if there might be any changes to that schedule.
3. What renovations are being done in the meantime?
At the annual town meeting last week, town meeting members approved $250,000 in capital funds to conduct repairs and improvements to stabilize the building and address immediate health and safety concerns.
The stabilization project includes a variety of work to try to stop water intrusion in to the library building. The exact Scope of the Work includes:
- North side: demolition of the concrete sidewalk and entrance area. Sawcut the pavement to create swale more in line with catch basins. Then repave from building to new swale.
- North side: Install Bentononite waterproofing over foundation wall of 1920’s addition (where electrical room is). Thought is that this foundation must be porous in some fashion.
- South and west Side of 1979 Addition : Replace split face block with ground face block (denser). Put in pipe foundation drain and pipe to new dry well. Install membrane waterproofing and protection board. Remove damaged drywall and insulation and re-insulate with rigid and new drywall. back fill and put concrete apron back.
- Children’s patio: Demolish windows: Fill openings up by 2 feet with concrete. new windows with higher sills. New drywall under windows.
- South side porch over elevator machine room: Remove everything and start fresh. Add roof overhang. Re-do counter flashing to historical building.
Additionally, work space for children’s staff is being moved out of a mechanical room, as that room houses one of the library’s two air handling systems for the Heating Ventilation Cooling and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system. Having staff work in these mechanical spaces further contributed to the poor air quality in the building. We are now in the process of creating a new work space for the children’s staff. This is being carved out of a space in the back of the children’s room—in a space which previously held shelving units for the children’s book collections. Children’s Librarian’s have had to heavily weed collections and establish some alternate shelving spaces where possible, to make room for this work space. We have also purchased a small new shelving unit and some compact cabinets for the computer catalogs, so that we won’t have to discard as many children’s books. A new partition and carpet are being installed in this new work area. Once the space is finished, Public Buildings Department employees will move the office furniture into the new workspace. (The costs for this change are being managed within the Library and Public Buildings Department budgets. These costs were not covered by the $250,000 capital funding cited above).
Finally, once all the work is done to try to stop water intrusion into the building, a number of damaged walls and carpet areas will need to be replaced. Funding for this will come from the public buildings department budget.
As I noted at Town Meeting, this work does not address other facility needs, such as the elevator which does not comply with current handicap accessibility codes, levels of the building which are not accessible by the elevator, replacement of the all electrical HVAC system, upgrades to building systems which have reached end of life cycle (electrical, lighting, technology, windows, etc.) and does not provide a space that meets the needs of today’s library users.
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