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Adams Library Project Scope to Be Determined Next Week

By Dan Gigliotti
iBerkshires Correspondent
03:01AM / Thursday, December 05, 2013
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Town and library officials will meet with architects next week to review the scope of renovations for the library, which must meet ADA standards.

ADAMS, Mass. — Town officials are scheduled to meet with its contracted design company early next week to determine the scope and costs of the Adams Free Library renovation.

On Tuesday, Tom Chalmers, architect with Austin Design Inc., will meet with Town Administrator Jonathan Butler, Building Inspector David Pelletier, Community Development Director Donna Cesan and library trustees to conduct a walk-through of the property to evaluate and assess the scope and budget of the project.

Issues already identified with the library include updating restroom facilities on its first floor and meeting handicapped accessibility issues.

According to Cesan, Chalmers, along with Pelletier, have been consulting with the state Architectural Access Board to identify exactly what accessibility issues should be addressed in conjunction with the preservation of the historical integrity of the building.

The building, which houses one of the few Grand Army of the Republic Halls left in the state, is not on the register of the state Historic Commission, therefore it is not subject to the restrictions the state imposes on renovating historic buildings. For instance, concerns that the library Board of Trustees had with renovations to its front entrance will not include remodeling its doors, only the walkway. Other questions the trustees addressed in the last couple of months are likely to be answered on Tuesday.

"I think [Chalmers is] going to be able to present the results of those inquiries and then recommend a project scope of work. I think he'll be able to identify a preliminary budget, a cost estimate, and then get some feedback from both town officials and the library trustees," Cesan said.

Mainly, the renovation project will focus on ensuring the current facility is handicapped accessible, according to Americans for Disabilities Act standards, and preserving the historical integrity of the building.

The information discussed in next week's meeting will allow the town to move forward in seeking a comprehensive plan for funding the renovations the town and Austin Design deem necessary.

In its initial stages, the project's cost yielded estimated costs upwards of $1 million, with hopes that the number could be closer to $750,000. According to Cesan, the town still has some funding available from its $75,000 appropriation from the fiscal 2013 budget to contribute to the project.

During the Board of Selectmen meeting on Wednesday, Butler said town appropriations will "definitely be included" in the cost of the project's completion, barring public approval. He said the town is eying a date in early March for a special town meeting and will request that Selectmen finalize this date as early as its next convening on Dec. 18.

The town has considered applying for state historic grant funds, though Cesan said a preservation planner would likely need to be hired to complete its rigorous application process.

"If we were to apply for those funds, we would also have to move to go through the process of nominating the building for the state Historic Register. Clearly, I think it would warrant it, but you would have to go through a pretty, it's intense, documentation process," Cesan said.

The town can use portions of a Community Development Block Grant received in July, apply for Community Development Block Grant funding to use toward handicapped accessibility upgrades. Ultimately, the more consolidated the funding, the more efficiently the project will be completed.

"Instead of one contractor and one designer, you're dealing potentially with multiple, so those are the things we'll have to evaluate in the future," Cesan said.

In February, the town selected Austin Design Inc. of Colrain to develop a restoration plan for the library, beating out two other local companies that submitted proposals: edm Architects and Barry Architects.

Since then, the town has waited to obtain a project scope and budget in order to evaluate its options for acquiring funding.

Correction at 3:53 p.m., Dec. 5, 2013, to note that current block grant funds cannot be used toward the project.


Tags: ADA,   handicapped accessibility,   public library,   renovation,   

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