|By Debbie Gardner|
GRANBY Construction on the new Granby Public Library on Route 202 is well underway and, according to Library Director Jennifer R. Grant, pretty much on schedule for an early fall opening.
"They are saying October," Grant said, based on updates she's been receiving from Project Manager Tony Sievers of Diversified Project Management Inc. and a recent walk-through of the site with fellow members of the Library Building Committee. "It's kind-of fuzzy as to whether it will be done in late September or early October."
Western Builders Inc. began construction of the new, 12,062 square building, located on land donated by Granby residents Fred and Alice Stewart, on Oct. 17, 2012. When completed, the new library will be approximately five times the size of the current facility located at 1 Library Lane, which Grant said houses services in a mere 2,500 square-foot space.
Unlike many other civic improvement projects now underway throughout Western Massachusetts, Grant said construction of the new $4.6 million library would not have an effect on the town's current or future tax rate, as no bonding was required to fund construction. Granby received a $2.6 million grant for the project through the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioner's (MBLC) Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program in July 2011, and an additional $15,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts. Friends of the Granby Library conducted an initial fundraising campaign that, in May of 2011, reached its $150,000 goal and obtained a matching grant offered by the Fowler-Bombardier Family Charitable Trust. The town approved a total expenditure of $1.2 million from the Municipal Stabilization Fund for the project, $861,003 in October 2011 and an additional $350,000 in September 2012.
In addition to this funding, Virginia Snopek, chairman of both the Board of Library Trustees and the Library Building Committee said the Friends of the Granby Library donated $459,000, mostly from bequeaths to the long-awaited library project, before "any fundraising began."
Grant noted that, despite the generosity of the town and donors, "we did have to cut a lot of items out of our construction budget. We cut our furniture and our landscaping so the town could support it."
She said the Friends have continued fundraising to fill this gap in the initial plan.
"We are now trying to raise money for other anticipated expenses furniture, landscaping, computer terminals and other peripherals," Snopek said. "From here on everything we raise is going [toward that]."
She noted that the library's Capital Committee recently launched a new engraved brick fundraiser to assist in this effort.
"I'm really excited about this," Snopek said. "People can purchase an engraved brick in memory of a loved one, as a gift, to remember a pet . these bricks will go along the sidewalk leading to the new library. It's a tremendous way for everybody to be remembered in a special way."
Each engraved brick costs $25. Order forms are now available at the library's circulation desk and Grant said they would be available online shortly at the library's website, www.granbylibrary.com.
Snopek noted the library's teen program has another ongoing fundraiser selling hand-made beaded bracelets to help fund equipment for the new library's teen room. Information on this fundraiser is available at the library and on its website.
Snopek said the library project has also been the beneficiary of many in-kind service donations. An individual has created a landscaping plan at no cost, and thanks to the efforts of two local residents, students from Pathfinder Regional High School would be building the library's main circulation desk.
Grant, who has been library director for the past five years, noted that the realization of this library project is the culmination of an effort at modernization that began more than 40 years ago.
"It really has been a grand community effort," Snopek said. "It is truly through this community effort that we have been able to build this library."
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