Library estimate far exceeds $3 million budget

Vote moved from June to November
By Louis Bettcher | Apr 17, 2018

Rockport — A cost estimate by Ledgewood Construction, the firm tasked with building a proposed new Rockport Library, exceeds the budget set by the Rockport Select Board by three quarters of a million dollars.

A public vote on the structure had been planned for June, but in light of the significant cost increase the selectmen and members of the library committee have agreed to place the library on the November ballot instead.

An estimate from Ledgewood Construction dated March 8 states that the library sitework would cost a total of $3,750,000 -- $750,000 above the proposed budget.

The Rockport Selectmen agreed last November that the total budget for the library building would not exceed $3 million, and that this money would be drawn in equal parts from taxpayer bond obligations and donations by private entities.

A recent statement on the Rockport Public Library's website refers to the cost estimate and the decision to delay the vote:

"...the building is over budget. However, all is not lost! The design team is working on finding cost savings and hope to shrink the amount we are over budget by. The bad news is that it is going to take time to shrink the number."

The $3 million budget would not include parking expenses, one of the construction projects involved in building the new library, which includes building 14 parking spaces off of Limerock Street into the existing Memorial Park, and reworking the intersection of Limerock, Central and Union Streets and Russel Avenue.

Ledgewood also provided estimates for the parking lot construction and intersection work which would be a separate ballot question from the $3 million structure; intersection work would cost $181,000 and parking lot work would cost $126,000.

The $3 million budget reflects a decrease of $1 million from a previous proposal of a $4 million, 9,500 square-foot library that was designed by Reed & Co. Architects, but failed at the polls in November of 2016.

A town-wide survey following the vote revealed that a number of residents felt that the 2016 proposal was too expensive and the Limerock Street location lacked accessibility. Working with this new budget, architect Steve Smith created renderings of a 7,500 square-foot building.

Rockport Public Library Director Ben Blackmon said April 17 that those involved in the library's design process are examining all elements of the structure to find ways to reduce the budget without compromising its quality or aesthetic.

"The community members that I talk to seem fine with the delay. They wish we already had a new library but the general thought is we need to do it right [and] not fast...The delay also gives us more time to work on fundraising which is the silver lining," said Blackmon.

Blackmon said that the design team will continue to work on getting the estimate in line with the proposed $3 million budget, and anticipates public meetings on the project may be held next month.


Comments (4)
Posted by: Dale Hayward | Apr 25, 2018 23:28

And, Valarie, how about a barn raising idea for some of it. Might just work. However, money is more prevalent then perhaps sweat equity.

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Apr 22, 2018 10:08

Curious what the architect was paid ?  Many talk about cost savings, however have little interest in.  Case in point Camden's Town budget. The truth is we all love having the biggest and the best.  It's the American way.

Posted by: Dale Hayward | Apr 19, 2018 08:58

Another year, and another year of debate and the cost grow and grow. Only thinking.

Posted by: Valerie Wass | Apr 18, 2018 16:11

It is a shame that a local contractor was not hired.  :(


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