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Crews Hit the Books in Marlborough, Mass.

Wed February 23, 2022 - Northeast Edition #5
Ken Liebeskind -CEG Correspondent


Demolition of the existing 1960s portion of the building has been completed and excavation of new building footings has begun.
Demolition of the existing 1960s portion of the building has been completed and excavation of new building footings has begun.
Demolition of the existing 1960s portion of the building has been completed and excavation of new building footings has begun. After demolishing an existing portion of the Marlborough, Mass., public library, a construction team is 
replacing it with a new structure that will 
update library technology. M. O’Connor Contracting, West Roxbury, Mass., is the contractor on the job, which is paid for with a $24 million bond that was approved by the city and a $10 million grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. Construction started in October and is projected to be completed in May 2023. M. O’Connor Contracting has been proactive about ordering materials, so the project's timeline has not been affected by any pandemic-related supply chain issues.

After demolishing an existing portion of the Marlborough, Mass., public library, a construction team is replacing it with a new structure that will update library technology.

"The renovation will tear down an addition that was built in the 1960s and replace it, which will add 16,000 square feet to the library," said Larry Gill, project manager of CHA Consulting, Norwell, Mass., the firm that is managing all aspects of the project, from its feasibility to the completion of construction.

"The meeting room will be on the lower level of the library and the circulation desk will be at the main entrance next to the parking lot," according to an account in Minuteman Press. "Additional parking spaces for the expanded library will be made available by the demolition of two houses along Witherbee Street, which the city purchased for this purpose."

M. O'Connor Contracting, West Roxbury, Mass., is the contractor on the job, which is paid for with a $24 million bond that was approved by the city and a $10 million grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

The Marlborough Rotary Club also donated $25,000.

"The library is an integral part of the Marlborough community and the Rotary Club is pleased to be able to support such an important project during its Centennial year," Rotary Club President Aaron Aykanian said in a press release.

"Demolition of the existing 1960s portion of the building has been completed and excavation of new building footings has begun," Gill noted.

Most of the existing building will be demolished and replaced with a 16,000 sq. ft. addition, while the historic façade of the library and its front rooms, built through a donation by Andrew Carnegie, will remain, according to a report in The Community Advocate.

The newly-renovated library will be ADA compliant and feature new study rooms, meeting rooms and a 200-seat auditorium, according to a report by MetroWest Daily News.

R. Drayton Fair of LLB Architects designed the library renovation as a three-level building with two levels and a below-ground space, The Community Advocate reported. The first floor will add a café area and a public elevator with circulation, staff rooms, a reference desk, a local history room, a study area and tutoring rooms. The second floor will include areas dedicated to preschool, children and young adults. Glass walls will partition off the preschool area for security reasons. The below ground level will have a city meeting room and storage areas.

Construction started in October and is projected to be completed in May 2023.

Komatsu and Volvo excavators are being used on the project. Other construction equipment includes two stone processing machines that are working in tandem to produce the structural fill, a lull for moving material and a ground heating unit that keeps the ground thawed for footing placement.

M. O'Connor Contracting, which built Bolton, Webster, Stoughton and the recently completed Norwell Public Library, was selected for the Marlborough job based on fee and experience, according to Margaret Cardello, the library's director. M. O'Connor Contracting has been proactive about ordering materials, so the project's timeline has not been affected by any pandemic-related supply chain issues, according to Cardello.

The new fully handicapped accessible building will have expanded space for children and teens, updated technology, community meeting space and more parking.

"The library aspires to be the engine that creates and sustains community in Marlborough," Cardello said.

"The new facility will be a library that retains the beautiful historic elements of the existing Carnegie building," the Marlborough Library Foundation stated. "It will continue to be an anchor to downtown Marlborough, providing easy access for all residents and visitors. It will offer more community meeting spaces, including areas for quiet study; improved technology infrastructure; full ADA compliance; much-needed expanded parking; and LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] certification for efficiency and sustainability."

The library will remain operational through the renovation with a temporary home at the Walker Building just a few steps down Main Street from the main library. CEG




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