Asbestos found prior to library demolition

Removal increases cost of demolition
By Daniel Dunkle | Jan 02, 2019
Photo by: Susan Mustapich A no trespassing sign marks the spot where the former library has been demolished to make room for construction of a new library in the spring in Rockport.

Rockport — During a walk-through of the former Rockport library building, asbestos tiles were found under the carpet and asbestos tape had been used on the duct work, according to Town Manager Rick Bates.

The discovery added $8,000 to the cost of the building's demolition.

However, the town also managed to offset some of its initial cost expectations for the project by using Public Works employees in the demolition. As a result, the project, initially estimated to cost $26,000, actually came in at about $27,000, according to the town manager.

Bates said no one was exposed to the asbestos during the demolition project, because it was contained in the tiles. He said it would only have been dangerous if the tiles had been broken up without proper remediation, causing the fibers to become airborne.

After they were discovered, the building was sealed off and they were removed properly and safely, he said.

The project also involved the removal of numerous fluorescent lights.

He said unfortunately, much of the building materials could not be salvaged. Most were either rotten, worn or outdated. The town did salvage the front door, some stone work, metal work and plantings at the old library. Some of the shelving was salvaged.

Overall, he said, the demolition, which was carried out in December, went well. The weather cooperated, and getting that part of the project done this winter paves the way for a smoother beginning to construction of the new library in the spring.

The property has been covered in wood chips to provide erosion control. Some additional work may be done to a nearby culvert and around the streams on and near the property to prevent erosion in the future.

The new $3.5 million library will be built at Russell Avenue and Limerock Street overlooking the harbor. The new two-story building will include a 7,000-square-foot modern library with an additional 3,000 square feet for future expansion. It will have flexible space to accommodate future technology and dedicated spaces for teens and children.

Construction of the new library is expected to start in late April, and the plan is to have the building closed in and heated before winter 2019. The target for opening the new library is June 2020, though that is just an estimate.

More information on the library project will be made public Jan. 8, when the Select Board receives an update on the construction and the Library Foundation. The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. in the Rockport Opera House community meeting room.

It was announced at the end of September that the library's capital campaign was halfway to its $2 million fundraising goal. The total project is budgeted at $3.5 million, with $1.5 million approved as a bond by the voters Nov 6. The remainder is being funded through private donations, with fundraising being spearheaded by the Rockport Library Foundation, a nonprofit organization created to fund the project.

The funding approved so far for the library project does not include parking, sidewalks and intersection improvements, Bates said in previous comments, but the town is likely to receive a grant covering 50 percent of that work from the Maine Department of Transportation.

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