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Marlborough OKs $23.7M bond for library overhaul, expansion

Marlborough OKs $23.7M bond for library overhaul, expansion

METRO WEST DAILY NEWS – The city’s more than century-old library will soon get a long-awaited facelift.

City councilors Monday approved a $23.7 million bond that will pay for renovating and expanding the West Main Street library. The council also formally accepted a $10.1 million grant the state Board of Library Commissioners awarded the city this summer for the project. Councilors had until Jan. 12 to accept the grant.

“We’re just thrilled,” Library Director Margaret Cardello said moments after the vote. “It’s tremendously exciting. We’ve been looking forward to this date for a long time. People are excited about the prospect of an expanded and renovated library.”

The state requires construction to start within two years of the council’s approval. The Library Building Committee and project architects will spend much of that time reviewing and fine-tuning the schematic designs that have been completed so far. City officials will also have to find a location to temporarily house the library during construction. The Walker Building, which is mostly vacant, has been discussed as the temporary quarters.

The Marlborough Public Library Foundation – formed in 2002 to raise money for capital improvements – hopes to privately raise $2 million to $3 million. They have raised nearly $500,000, said Dan Verrico, chairman of the foundation’s Capital Campaign Committee.

The project will include more room for meeting and quiet study space, additional public computers and rooms for tutoring and public workshops. The facility will expand from 22,300 square feet to 38,206 square feet.

More parking will also be added, as the existing facility has only 23 parking spaces at its Witherbee Street entrance. The city purchased three homes neighboring the library at 49 West Main St., 28 Witherbee St., and 29 Witherbee St. for more room and parking for the project. Library employees currently park at those homes to ensure spots are available for library patrons.

The state grant program requires libraries to provide one parking spot for every 400 square feet.

Cardello and Verrico are excited to share the news with library patrons.

The expansion and renovation will benefit every segment of the community, Cardello and Verrico said.

“It’s the fulfillment of a dream of a lot of people,” said Verrico.

Constructed in the early 1900s and last renovated in 1969, the library lacks room for meetings and quiet study, both of which are included in the current plan.

The facility’s auditorium is too small to house popular programs, and the building lacks a classroom for tutoring and public workshops, such as English as a second language. Library officials have advocated for more public computers and technology.

This article by Jeff Malachowski originally appeared here.

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