Library, Town Hall opening Sept. 14

Photo by Lee Krohn
The new Pierson Library and Town Hall project will be completed soon. A grand opening is planned for Sept. 14.


Landscaping, paving and final interior touches are under way at the new Pierson Library and renovated Shelburne Town Hall where a grand opening is set for Sept. 14, project officials announced this week.

Events will begin at 9:15 a.m. and run through 3 p.m. Library Director Kevin Unrath said plans so far include a ribbon-cutting, guest speakers, ice cream, tours, and games for children. Vermont Western Swing artist Rick Norcross will provide tunes with some help from Shelburne 11-year-old guitar sensation Charlie Schramm, Unrath said. 

Work began late last September on tearing down and rebuilding Pierson Library and renovating the 1927 historic Town Hall building. Originally expected to cost $6.5 million, the project will finish at approximately $6.8 million, according to Unrath. The tab was paid through a combination of a $6.5 million bond that voters approved in November 2017 and just over $1 million in fundraising.

Because fundraising was successful – one generous anonymous donor kicked in $500,000 – and designers trimmed some areas back, only $5.8 million of the bond will be used, Unrath noted.

The increase in the overall cost was mainly due to unanticipated expenses for handling contaminated soils and additional repairs to the Town Hall structure that were determined during construction, Unrath said.

As was the case before construction, the library and Town Hall remain connected, however the new library bears little resemblance to the previous one. At 12,900 square-feet and two stories, it’s almost twice the size of its predecessor.

Neagley & Chase Construction Co. from South Burlington was the lead contractor and architects at Vermont Integrated Architecture in Middlebury did the design.

The new construction uses many energy efficient elements for heating, cooling and power including a rooftop solar installation. The library exterior is finished with hanging slate tiles which will require little maintenance, according to project managers. Other new features are an elevator and a community room gathering space outfitted with a gas fireplace and many windows that offer a view of a landscaped patio area.

The Shelburne Historical Society will occupy space in the lower level of the Town Hall building. Rooms on both levels there, including the main floor with its large meeting room and stage, will be available for community functions, programs and performances, Unrath said.

The construction project also included improvements to the municipal campus site including widening the driveway entrance and new curbing.

Unrath thanks Shelburne residents for their support and patience with the library operating since last July at the Shelburne Field House.

“We hope you’ll be as thrilled with the spaces as we are,” he said.

Volunteers needed

Volunteers are needed to help with the library move. Pierson Library at the Shelburne Field House will close Sept. 4. Library Director Kevin Unrath said crews are needed Monday through Friday, Sept. 9-13, for morning and afternoon shifts from 9 a.m. to noon, and 1-4 p.m. To sign up, stop by the Field House or call 985-5124.

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