Library trustees balk at cost of continuing renovations

Fri, 10/08/2021 - 7:33am

After taking a brief pause for the busy summer months, the Island Free Library is ready to get back to its large renovation project. The board of trustees received a report via telephone from Lucas Silva, the contractor supervising the work.
Silva told the board he was ready to finish up the interior trim and ceilings, and was ready to start painting once the trim is completed. He then explained that he would be ready to move into phase two.
“Phase two is to make the building and windows maintenance-free and utilize impact-resistant glass.” His crew is replacing
44 windows throughout the library, upgrading from wooden frames to vinyl. He is also replacing all the siding and trim, except on
the back of the building that was re-sided as part of phase one. Silva told the board it would take approximately 4,000 square feet of shingles and 1,000 linear feet of trim.
Lucas reported the “bare bones” total for phase two as $242,000, with $55,000 for the windows and $66,000 for the installation.
The rest of the cost is in the siding and trim materials, and labor. Silva explained that the several-years-old work previously performed on the addition did not match the original building; specifically the original trim was one inch thick and the addition’s trim is three quarters of an inch thick. “We’ll make everything uniform,” Silva said by converting all trim to one inch.
Director of Public Works Matt Moynihan asked about the time frame for completion of phase one.
Silva responded, “My portion of the work will be done in 10 to 14 days.” He recommended the board go ahead and order the windows and siding for phase two since lead times and prices are growing substantially.
Building Inspector Tom Risom seconded that opinion. “Your enemy is the supply stream,” he said, relating that he knew of
several contractors who had been forced to send their crews home mid-week for lack of building supplies.
The board talked over the numbers once Silva hung up, and expressed surprise at the high price tag. For Moynihan and Risom,
both fairly new in their roles for the town, it was their first exposure to this library project. Moynihan suggested exploring other options for the trim and siding as a way to cut costs.
“With that expenditure cost, we’ll have to explore other options,” Board Member Dave Sniffen said. “It’s three times what we
Moynihan asked if the board had received an estimate for phase two prior to this meeting.
“That’s the first time we’ve heard that number,” Sniffen replied.
Moynihan asked if it would be possible to concentrate on replacing the worst windows now, and doing the rest later in a third phase.
Risom voiced his opinion that the price was reasonable, compared with other projects he is familiar with. He said he and Silva had looked at each window, “to validate (Silva’s) approach” of replacing them all. While they determined that all the windows would need to be replaced eventually, Risom said it might be possible to “chunk it out in phases,” by prioritizing the worst windows.
Library Director Kristin Baumann reminded the group that the library had around $80,000 in grant money for the window project, but it was supposed to be used by year’s end.
Sniffen suggested going back to the town to see what other funding sources were available since the $80,000 isn’t enough for
the whole project.
Baumann suggested just shingling around each window as it is replaced rather than shingling the whole building as a way to cut
“You may do one or two walls a year,” Risom suggested, also mentioning that the costs of shingles has tripled in the past year.
“This is the same conversation at every job,” he said. “Maybe you just do what you need to get the water tightness, then come back and do the rest when you have more money.”

Clerk Heidi Tarbox told the group that in the initial planning with Town Manager Maryanne Crawford and former Facilities Manager Sam Bird, it was determined that re-shingling the entire building would be more cost-effective.
“It’s precarious,” Baumann said. “Having a grant that has to be spent, and a builder that’s here now.” Baumann has been dealing
with this project for quite some time, on her own, as the town went through a period with no active Director of Public Works or
Building Inspector. Baumann expressed hope that things would progress now. “I’m going to say that Tom (Risom) and Matt (Moynihan) are going to help me make sure (at least) phase one gets done,” she said.
Vice Chair Shirlyne Gobern said the group’s next step will be to approach the town manager and Finance Director Amy Land to
discuss funding options.