Library options unveiled to Historic Preservation & Design Review Commission

“The Bridge” design is located next to the SCHIP’s building and along U.S. Route 7.
“The Bridge” design is located next to the SCHIP’s building and along U.S. Route 7.
“The Scoop” design is located on the current library site behind the historic Town Hall.
“The Scoop” design is located on the current library site behind the historic Town Hall.

“The Scoop” and “The Bridge” library project options went before the Historic Preservation & Design Review Commission at its Nov. 10 meeting. Andrea Murray, Principal of Vermont Integrated Architecture, presented the two preferred options to members.

The options had first been unveiled to the Library Steering Committee on Nov. 7. The two choices then were the subject of a presentation by Murray at the Nov. 8 Selectboard meeting. Thursday’s HP&DRC meeting was an opportunity for feedback on if and how each of the options would fit within the Village.

“One of the things we have heard in this community is that the library really needs to be a flexible structure,” Murray said.

Another consideration when looking at options was the role of libraries in the current era. “What is the library of the 21st century? That is a question we’ve been asking a lot,” Murray said, adding that the space needs to “be a building of its time – not a historic mockup.”

The two choices were each designed in response to the community needs and desires that the architecture firm has been hearing during the past few months. In the case of “The Scoop,” there is an effort to “scoop” people’s attention toward the library which would be physically connected to the Town Hall. With “The Bridge,” there is a feeling of connection to the historic building, although no physical link would exist.

HP&DRC members shared their thoughts on the two options. Chair Fritz Horton praised “The Scoop” option for obviously maintaining the site. He noted that he found “The Bridge” to be “needlessly interruptive – especially in light of this option.”

Member David Webster expressed some concerns about “The Scoop’s” design. He said that he found the concept a bit hectic.

“The Scoop” is the option preferred by the Library Steering Committee. Library Director Lara Keenan noted, however, “My major concern is what happens on the inside [of the building].”

The design changed one member’s mind. Dorothea Penar said that she finds the attached version a more challenging design, which is why she was initially in favor of the street-side “The Bridge” option. “[This is a] tougher, but not impossible, design,” Penar said.

Town Manager Joe Colangelo, who is a member of the steering committee, said that much of the public feedback has been in favor of an option that would be directly attached to the Town Hall. However, the committee did not want to cross off the other option until they had checked with different groups and the public.

Since the two options were unveiled, feedback on the designs has been gathered. Once that process is completed, things go back to VIA for refinement and to determine project costs.

To voice your opinion on which design you like better, go to the link on the Town’s website: http://shelburnevt.org/FormCenter/Pierson-Library-14/2020-Vision-The-Future-of-Shelburnes-Lib-53

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