Friday, May 8, 2009
Article 22, Motion 2:
Gleason Library restoration project passed at Town Meeting
The large crowd at the May 4 Annual Town Meeting voted to fund $775,000 from the Community Preservation Act (CPA) account to repair the historic portion of the Gleason Public Library. The funds will be used to restore the exterior front half of the library, including the roofing, façade, windows and foundation.
The audience was quiet and attentive as Chair of the Library Trustees Priscilla Stevens presented details of the renovation. She explained that the problem has been evident for decades; however, it is a progressive problem and getting worse. Previous work done several years ago when the new section of the library was added did not fully address the water damage to the library’s exterior.
Work is needed to fix cracks in the mortar and bricks on the façade, leaky windows, and missing and damaged roof slates. In addition, repairs to the foundation are required to alleviate moisture problems in the basement. For example, the front granite steps seep water into the basement, and the landscaping needs to be moved away from the granite molding. Stevens noted that since the repair work is on the building exterior, it is expected to have little or no impact on the patrons using the library.
Cost estimates for the repairs were listed as follows: roof – $335,000, basement / foundation – $143,000, masonry and brick – $126,000, windows – $84,000, project overhead and contingency – $87,000, for a total estimate of $775,000. Stevens noted that the funds are “already set aside” through the CPA for uses such as historic preservation of buildings. All funds not spent by the end of calendar year 2012 are to be returned to the CPA account from which it came.
The Trustees had originally estimated the project cost at $800,000, but determined that less was needed after professional inspection of the roof slates. The audience reacted positively to the news that some of the antique roof slates will be reused. Stevens said engineers have tested the integrity of the slates. “The good news is that many of our 114-year-old slates can be used for another 75 years.” Addressing the question of whether the work will be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified, using modern energy-efficient and environmentally safe materials, Stevens explained that the library cannot be LEED-certified due to the requirement to use “historic materials.” However, she added, the building will be more energy efficient after the restoration.
The Selectmen, Finance Committee and Long-Term Capital Requirements Committee all supported the motion, which carried unanimously. ∆
© 2009 The