Pierson Library makes way for construction

This week, about two dozen volunteers at Pierson Library are putting books into boxes, loading them onto carts, and stacking them into a moving truck for a half-mile ride before unloading them again across Harbor Road at the Shelburne Field House.

The Pierson Library move is finally underway.

The village center project has been talked about for years, and last November Shelburne voters bonded $6.5 million for the library reconstruction and historic Town Hall renovation that begins in earnest next month. The project also will involve improvements to the municipal campus for traffic and safety before it is finished next summer.

The library portion of the project will cost $5.1 million; the renovations to the 1927 Town Hall are budgeted for $710,000 and the campus improvements are another $680,000.

As the construction start nears, several preliminary steps need to happen.

The company will begin preparing the site next week.

Next Friday, July 27, the town tree warden will hold a public hearing to discuss multiple trees being due to the project. That’s set for 8 a.m. at the Town Offices.

Demolition begins in early August and it will include an opportunity for the Shelburne Fire Department to conduct a roof-access exercise. The building will come down completely before construction starts mid-August.

South Burlington-based Neagley & Chase Construction Company, the project contractor, said updates will be posted online at shelburnetowncenter.org.

Fundraising rolling in
The library project committee has raised over $260,000 for construction, which will be matched by an anonymous donor totalling the pledged donations to over $500,000 so far which will reduce the town’s bond by at least that much. The donor has pledged up to $500,000 in matching donations, and library volunteers are working hard to fundraise in order to receive the remaining match money, which would decrease the bond by a total of $1 million.

The typical donation is $100, and there have been 270 individual donors, reported Cathy Townsend, chair of the New Library and Town Center Construction Committee, which was recently renamed to show the progress of the project.

“It’s been amazing to see donations come in,” Library Director Kevin Unrath said. “People are really getting excited for the project.”

To begin construction, the town is bonding for an initial $2 million and then will take out a line of credit, town officials said. The remainder of the bond will be drawn in January. That allows supporters the most time to raise money to apply to the final bond amount.

The committee has also received in-kind donations of time and design for the branding and marketing of the library project.

For example, Townsend said, a local printing company that wishes to remain anonymous donated the materials and printing for an eight-page glossy booklet complete with architect’s drawings, floorplans and project details that was mailed to town residents recently.

Field House becomes a library
Once cartons are on site at the Field House, the book drop will be secured and everything will be unloaded onto shelves in their proper order, Unrath said. Library staff and volunteers say they will have everything in place well enough to open the doors on Monday July 21. A grand opening event is planned for Saturday, July 28.
The new location is about half a mile from the Pierson Library on the other side of Harbor Road, via Blodgett Road. The address is 166 Athletic Drive.

A newly opened path leading through the fields to the library from Harbor Road is another way to get to the Field House.

The library will have the same phone number as usual: (802) 985-5124.

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