Monterey Public Library: Residents get their first look at renovation plans

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MONTEREY — Residents here got their first look at plans for an expanded, renovated Monterey Library at a hearing on Monday night.

About 40 residents packed the gallery at the present library.

The projected cost, according to Daniel Pallotta, project manager for the work, is $3,039,783. But Monterey is eligible for a state grant of $1,917.459 from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. The bottom line, Pallotta said, is that the town will be responsible to raise and appropriate a total of $1,122,324.

Pallotta is the president of the Norwood-based 3-P, which stands for Project Planning Professionals. He explained that one of the specialties of his firm is library construction.

According to Library Director Mark J.J. Makuc, that final figure will not necessarily be solely on the backs of town taxpayers. There re plans, he said, for private fundraisers to help ameliorate the final bottom line.

That bottom line hinges on the town's ability to obtain the state grant. Pallotta said he was confident the town would eventually get the money. The town, he said, has begun working on the application, which is due by Jan. 17, 2017. The town will know if the grant will be awarded by July 21, 2017.

Pallotta, in fact, was pretty confident the entire process would work out for the town. When asked about a timeline and potential cost overruns, he stated, "this project will come in on time and under budget. And you can write that in your little notebook."

Makuc explained that the present library was constructed in 1931 with a budget of $7,900. But the needs of the community have expanded in the interim, he said.

The new library, which will be roughly twice the size of the present one, will also be completely accessible to the handicapped, have air conditioning, parking for eight vehicles and more shelves.

In fact, said Makuc, when the structure is completed, "there will be empty shelves. We are building for the future. There will be room to expand."

Timothy Eagles, an architect for EDM Architects of Pittsfield, explained to the audience that the plan is to construct two wings to the rear of the building, while moving the entrance slightly to the west.

"The addition will wrap itself around the existing building," said Eagles.

The rear of the building will have a view of the Konkapot River, and there will be a small reading porch at the rear of the structure for seasonal reading.

The parking area will be to the south of the building, while a new septic field will be sunk north of the structure.

But Eagles and Pallotta conceded that the site is "challenging," with the river at the rear and Route 23 only a few yards from the front door.

But, said Pallotta, he was confident the project will be able to obtain an Order of Conditions from the Conservation Commission, as well as any other necessary permits.

The projected construction time, he said, would be between eight to 10 months.

State law requires that the library remain open during that span. Makuc admitted that the plan for doing so had not yet been worked out.

"At this point, that issue is way down the road," he said."We'll figure out something."

The audience appeared to be in support of the project. The questions they asked centered around handicap accessibility and uses for the basement of the library.

To see a schematic of the library, go to www.montereymasslibrary.org.

Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.


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