Senior Center Gets a Look at the New Library Plan

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Once more the Permanent Building Committee (PBC) has hit the road to promote their new library plan to the citizens of Hopkinton. On Friday, November 5th, they stopped at the Senior Center for a mid morning presentation of the plan and to solicit feedback from the audience.

John Ferrari, PBC Chairman, introduced the plan and brought the 12 person audience up to speed with the latest plan developments. As he has had to do in previous informational meetings, Ferrari also spent some time explaining the site selection process. PBC member Marie Eldridge also commented on the multi- year process the PBC had engaged in to come up with a viable site list for the new library building.

Before the actual site plans and building designs were shown to the group, the PBC, along with architect Stewart Roberts, had to field a number of questions and comments about using the existing library building. The majority of the responses seemed to favor keeping the current library facility. More than one audience member remarked that the library we have now is a beautiful building. Prior to seeing the new plans, a few comments were made that a new building situated behind Center School would have a decided lack of charm.

But, as noted by Roberts, the major problem with keeping the existing building was not in the building, but in the parking. At this point in the discussion Roberts and Ferrari had to explain the financing aspects of the project and how the anticipated grant monies would be used to fund any new construction. Without adequate parking facilities, the grant application would receive a lower priority on the list of towns applying for the limited grant funds.

The audience quickly responded to the parking issues by presenting a number of alternatives to resolving the situation. Additional concerns were also voiced about the disposition of Center School and the future of the library building if the plan for the new building becomes reality.

With the discussion of parking limitations and site access still taking center stage, it was time to present the plans to the audience. Roberts showed the site plan of the proposed structure and followed with several eye level renderings of the new facility. Technical features relating to energy efficiency and environmental stewardship were presented as well as features that would provide for a more pleasant and efficient library experience. Building features and functions drew little comments from the audience.

Ken Chisholm, a frequent library patron, stood up and rallied around the new plan saying,

“We’re in competition with other town libraries and this may be the last time we can get the [grant] money. The existing library doesn’t fit our needs, it’s not suitable”.

After hearing the concerns and comments from the audience, Ferrari assured the gathering that he would do everything he could to secure grant funds regardless of the final location.

“We will do whatever we can for a library in Hopkinton, " said Laura Barry, a temporary member of the PBC who is working on the library project.