Shrewsbury residents will once again be discussing a library expansion project this fall at the special town meeting.
Last night town meeting members approved $85,000 to help fund the architectural design and planning for a proposal that would replace the former credit union and the two additions to the original library with a completely new structure.
The total cost of the project is expected to be just over $23 million, of which the town will have to pay $13.5 million. According to Town Manager Dan Morgado that would cost the average tax payer in town $91.
“The building committee believes that this option is the best opportunity for the town and will serve residents for 50 years or more,” building committee chairman Clay Smook said.
Three other plans were considered; one of which would connect the existing credit union with the existing library and would include significant renovations to both.
"We studied the existing building. It was built to codes that have since been changed and it’s an older building that’s constrained by older systems," Eric Moore, project architect, said. He also outlined that because of height differences between the two buildings a significant amount of floor space would be lost to accessibility improvements.
The second option that the Library Building Committee reviewed and discarded would replace the credit union and 1920 expansion while maintaining the original library and the 1979 expansion. Although the decision to not pursue this option was based on the poor construction of the 1979 section.
A third option was to leave the library building as is and completely renovate the interior. While this is the cheapest option, it did not solve any of the current problems with the library.
The planning and design will be completed and voted on during the town meeting and election in the fall. In order for the town to get the $7.9 million grant from the state library board the grant needs to be accepted for an approved plan by the end of the year.