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Scituate Library to begin capital campaign for $12 million renovation project

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  May 14, 2012 08:17 AM

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Scituate Town Library board members have begun the capital campaign to raise $5 million for a $12 million renovation of the public library.

At a selectmen’s meeting on May 8, Board member Mary Ellen Gaziano outlined the plan thus far, detailing that $5 million in a state grant through the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) was ready to go for either fiscal year 2013 or 2014.

The remaining funding for the $12 million project, which would include a two-floor expansion, a reconfiguration of most of the interior, new heating, lighting, roofing, parking lot, storage, and multiple study areas, will be on the shoulders of the public.

“We’re hoping to raise another $5 million with a capital campaign. We’re actively soliciting funds since January with nothing but positive feedback, and we’re fast approaching half a million dollars [in donations] without even going public,” Gaziano said.

According to Gaziano, $2 million will hopefully come from an appropriation from the town, most likely in the form of an override.

The library would be asking the town for $2 million for renovations of the existing facility regardless, since even if the town chooses not to go through with the $12 million project, the library still needs to fix the roof, the sliding glass doors, the restrooms, and the parking lot.

“It seems like it would work to our benefit to get a state of the art building instead of trying to catch what we have,” Gaziano said.

The last time the library received updates was in 1999, when new paint, new wallpaper, a new upstairs carpet, and new upholstery were added to the building.

Besides that, the building, constructed in 1978, has not changed, including the Kelly-green carpet on the bottom floor of the building like florescent grass, energy-inefficient windows, and limited space for programming.

The renovation will increase the square footage 35 percent to 32,000 square feet.

Although there is much going on in the town already – with the requests for a senior center, need for increased programming space, a structural study of all the town’s buildings, and numerous energy upgrades, the time to do this upgrade is now.

Not only has a feasibility study been conducted on the library’s needs, but there is money available through a grant process, proponents said.

The capital campaign has gotten more aggressive in recent months. Initially, library enthusiasts planned to raise $2 million with a request for $5 million from the town.

Selectman Jo Norton, however, posed a sobering reality: If the capital campaign did not raise the funding, the town would be on the hook for the difference.

Additionally, the town would most likely group an override for library funding in with an override for a senior center – a hot topic as of late.

“That’s a tough hurdle to put forward to the town,” Norton said.

Selectman John Danehey said that despite the optimism, if the plan for the renewed library fails, proponents should look to a participation in the town-wide study to see if they have any options for library renovations there.

A press conference on the library’s capital campaign will be held at the library on Monday, May 21 at 2:30 p.m.

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