Westborough library project price nears $37 million

Plans for updating the Westborough Public Library were on display at the open house on September 9. (Photo/Maureen Sullivan)

WESTBOROUGH — Rebuilding the Westborough Public Library could cost significantly more.

Figures provided by Library Director Maureen Amyot to the select committee on September 14 indicate an updated estimated price of $36,698,556. A Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) grant of $9,403,090 — which is tentative upon approval of the project by residents at the fall town hall — would bring costs down to $27,295,466.

This updated figure represents a significant increase from the previous estimate made in 2016, which projected a total cost of $23,998,140 without the state grant.

According to Amyot, the main factor was construction costs, which rose from $18,072,739 to $27,552,008. There were also cost increases for professional services, moving to a temporary site and a contingency fund.

The costs, Amyot said, “may be adjusted downward as we move forward with design work next year, but the numbers presented [Tuesday] night are the ones we will present at the Town Meeting.

The proposed library project

The plans, which are still in their early stages, would call for a dismantling of the Westborough Public Library addition in 1980 and a complete transformation of the original 1908 building.

The original building would have its windows, heating/air conditioning systems and roof replaced. The new three-story addition would include a children’s patio, restrooms on each floor, a larger teen area, more storage and more room for the local history center.

If these plans were not successful, Amyot presented a “base repair” budget of $18,954,739, which would cover major repairs to the library, but would not qualify for the state grant.

“This project doesn’t get any cheaper,” she said.

Amyot said there is a possible source of funding to help cover the additional costs. She said the state has $2 billion in unspent funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. She asked the Select Board to sign a letter asking the governor and state lawmakers for $50 million in additional funding for library construction projects across the state.

There are two separate items on the October Town Meeting Terms of Reference related to the library project. One of the articles solicits funds for the library project and would authorize the city to accept the MBLC grant.

If approved, the second article would establish size zoning regulations for the library.

For updates, visit https://www.westboroughlibrary.org/about/building-project/.

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