New Library's Grant Application Off To The State
Conceptional blueprints and application has to meet Jan. 27. deadline.
It's January, 2015. A large crowd of Belmont residents – children, parents, seniors – have join town and state officials before a large ribbon in front of a new two story building whose walls are lined with large windows.
Oversized ceremonial scissors are provided to a small group of dignitaries comprising librarians, members of the Board of Library Trustees and children.
At noon, the group snips the ribbon to officially open the new Belmont Public Library on Concord Avenue, nearly directly across its original site that is now the construction site for the town's new police station.
Well, that's the timeline (one that nearly everyone agrees is the most optimistic of all those on the table) outlined to the Board of Library Trustees last week by Stewart Roberts of the Boston office of Johnson Roberts Associates, Inc., the architect who created the conceptional blueprint for the new library that is part of the package being sent to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners to meet the Jan. 27 deadline where it will begin a six month review with 32 other libraries from comparable-sized municipalities.
After the half year review, only 10 of the towns and cities will be granted money sometime in the fall that will pay for a portion of the construction cost of the building.
After looking at four or five places around town and the same number of options for this present site, Johnson has come up with a final preliminary design that will accompany the Trustees grant application to the MBLC.
The 45,000 square foot, two story building - compared to the 29,000 square feet in the present library - was a program driven design and by the population size. The library is based on two sections; a front facing Concord Avenue and a narrower back section extending into what is now a high school athletic field.
"We were very limited in what we could try because of the land that was available," said .
But the location – adjacent to a Mobil Service Station – does provide three distinct advantages from other locations: it is separated from the high school, that the 92 spaces of parking (compared to the current 45) is "hidden" from Concord Avenue behind the station, and the library is close to the street
The one feature that standout in the current design is the extensive use of windows along Concord Avenue and the east facing wall that overlooks a soccer or softball field.
"I wanted people traveling on Concord Avenue to see that people activity using the building," said Roberts during his presentation of the building's design.
As with all modern libraries, the bulk of the space is given to services. On the first floor at the new library, there is a place to browse and read the new books, the children's room and meeting rooms while circulation desk is located more in the center of the structure.
There will also be audio/visual capability and a small cafe space - which is up and running in Watertown – where a vendor can sell drinks, coffee and small food items as well be the location for book sales.
The second floor that overlooks Concord Avenue will be the location for computers and training, a chance to read periodicals, reference and other front of the building functions.
The Historical Society's room, four quiet rooms and the stacked library's book collection will be located in the back section.
The building will also be energy efficient with solar panels on the roof to supply the library with 15 percent of its electrical needs. In addition, the extensive use of windows will allow for the use natural lighting in the majority of building saving on electrical charges. There will also be water conservation and recycling of paper.
Trustee Hal Shubin said that despite not receiving an official go-ahead from the School Department and Belmont School Committee, the Trustees selected the location since most residents and town officials felt the spot would receive the least objections from the town and residents.
After the meeting broke up, architect Roberts told Belmont Patch after the meeting that from his experience, Belmont should have a good chances to obtain one of the plants available today.
"(The) trustees did a good job with the application and telling their stories," he said."
Also feeling good about the library's chances is Shubin.
"I've been a (library) trustee for nine years and I've gone through three grant rounds and our plans haven't changed much since the last time (2007) and we just missed out on that," said Shubin.