Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Spring 13 Update

Perhaps you’ve seen the progress on the outside grounds of the new Library? Trees are being planted, light pole bases and fencing installed, and the ground is being prepared for paving. Curbing for the circular entry court has been put into place. All this means we are getting close to opening. While we don’t have a firm date, all signs indicate that it won’t be long now. The Library Trustees and I appreciate the continued interest shown by town residents. While the process has taken longer than anticipated we are confident that the Library will be a huge success. Meanwhile, inside the building important punch list work is being completed. This includes start-up of the air conditioning system. Staff training on the new phone system and updated building safety procedures will take place in June. We are also working to make our museum passes available for on-line request. The majority of the staff continues to work at the Branch Library keeping the building open six days a week. You can see progress on the former Colburn School as contractors for new owners Coffman Realty re-habilitate the building. Between the two projects, the work site is a very busy place. The Town Building Inspector’s decision to wait until Library parking was in place and safe access for all users could be assured was certainly the right one. Please look at the Library web site for upcoming announcements.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring Library Project News

Progress on the new Westwood Public Library is nearly complete inside the building. The majority of the remaining work consists of exterior tasks including paving, curbing, landscaping, etc. This phase of the project will not begin until the winter weather is behind us and the Colburn School is moved to its new location on the site of the former library. We believe the Colburn will move sometime in April. Coffman Realty of Brockton has purchased the school and is now preparing a new foundation. We are working to coordinate the final stages of the Library project with the on-going Colburn work on the adjacent property. The Town’s commitment to finding a use for the 1876 school building will result in a great addition to High Street and the community. Having said that, no one should underestimate the time and effort required by all parties to make this a reality. The Town’s Permanent Building Committee has done an excellent job managing the project. All of us on the Project Management side are committed to ensuring that this is a quality building. Thanks to the PBC, the Town Finance Department and DTI, our Project Managers, I can assure you that the project budget is in very good shape. We investigated the possibility of opening the new Library before completing our remaining site work with the Town’s Building Inspector and the Traffic Safety Officer from the Westwood Police Department. They reviewed the exterior library work schedule and the construction activity on the Colburn site. They concluded that until we can provide parking, handicapped access and a safe way for the public to enter the building it would be unwise to open before these things are completed. Library staff continue to set-up the radio frequency identification (RFID) system that will make managing the heavy volume of circulating materials more efficient. We are also busy with computer and network installation. Finally, staff training on these new systems is on-going. I am pleased that town residents are utilizing library services at the Islington Branch Library with its expanded six day a week schedule.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

New Library Progress

The project is approximately 95% complete. The new library will open after the Colburn School is moved to its new location and traffic access is completed. The Colburn will move through the library parking lot to the site of the former library. Unfortunately, several unanticipated issues have delayed the move. Weather permitting, we expect this to happen sometime in January. The other major remaining library projects include setting up technology infrastructure and new computers, installing our wireless Internet network, and completing the sound and projection equipment work. The general contractor is working on the inside punch list: finishing front entry access; installing circulation desk counter tops; and completing the lighting systems and exterior work. We continue to put radio frequency identification tags into each item in the collection. The RFID system will allow us to handle the half million annual transactions more efficiently. The automated sorter machinery has been installed and library staff is being trained in its operation. The RFID controlled sorter checks-in each returned item, activates security and distributes them into designated bins. Once open to the public, public parking will be on a temporary surface. The final landscaping work and parking lot paving, including the land where the Colburn now rests, will be done in the spring. The Library Trustees and I thank you for your support and patience as the building project nears completion.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Main Library Closing Date Announced

The Westwood Main Library will soon close for several weeks to prepare for the move into its new building. The last day for the public to use the forty-three year old facility is Thursday, October 18. The new main library, located next to the current building, is scheduled to open sometime in January. Library Director Tom Viti said the move should be completed by early November. “We are working with an experienced library moving company and are confident they will do an excellent job,“ Viti said. Biblio Tech of Connecticut will move an estimated 80,000 books along with files, computers, and some art work. The Islington Branch Library will be open six days a week to provide services during the interim period. Library patrons who have requested books or other materials may pick them up at the Branch or other libraries in the Minuteman Library Network. The complete schedule and other information for patrons will be available soon at the Library website, People may return library materials at either the Branch or at a drop-off bin on High Street, in front of the current library. Following the move, the old library will be cleaned of hazardous materials and then demolished. In December the Colburn School will be moved to the old library site and renovations will begin on the 1876 building. The new main library won Town approval in 2010. The 32,000 square foot library project is financed by the Town, private donations, and a $4 million grant from the Mass Board of Library Commissioners.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Progress on the Library Project

This June the General Contractor’s progress on the new library reached the 75% completion mark. The Town recently received its third grant payment from the Mass Board of Library Commissioners Public Library Construction Grant Program. To date we have received $3.3 million in state funding, which is 90% of our total grant award. Exterior site work is underway with the construction of a low stone wall that runs parallel to High Street. We have hopes that the stone lintel from the original 1901 building, now part of the entrance area of the current library, can be moved intact and incorporated in the new wall. You can expect to see the project trailer removed sometime in July to allow for further site work. Work is now focused on light installation on first floor. The impressive wood and metal ceilings are beginning installation. Bathroom tile work is underway. Exterior gutter, downspout, flashing, and chimney work are all ongoing. We are awaiting delivery dates for carpet, furnishings, and shelving. The Library staff toured the building in early May. Fresh paint and wood trim made the rooms and offices look very inviting. The staff was delighted with the size of the new Children’s Department and especially the inviting children’s program room. The Library’s book and audio-visual materials collection is being “tagged” item by item to enable our new radio frequency identification (RFID) system to more efficiently manage the circulation of materials. Two book chutes, one outside the building and one in the inside lobby area, will connect returned materials to an automatic conveyor and sorting system. Eight Minuteman Network libraries are using RFID technology. Westwood will be the first to use the auto sort system.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Springtime News on Library Project

The General Contractor for the new library reached a completion mark of 69% on March 30. While most of the construction activity has moved inside the building, the exterior glass, masonry, and roof work has continued to make progress. The outside of the building is now much closer to its finished appearance and the architects’ design looks great.

Inside the sheetrock and trim work is ongoing. The above ceiling mechanical and electrical work is substantially complete. The metal and wood ceiling grid installation has begun and finished panel work will follow shortly. Boiler room work is almost done with some piping remaining. The electricians began installing light fixtures in March.

The Library staff got their first tour of the building in early March. There has been noticeable progress since then with all rooms and departments now clearly defined. The staff was especially impressed with how the second floor skylights and windows created such open and inviting spaces.

The bid awards for furniture, seating, shelving, carpet, and other interior finishes have been finalized. Many of the items were purchased from the State bid list. I am grateful to the committee of staff, Trustees, and town residents who gave their time to help our designers. I believe that people will find the Library a very attractive and comfortable space.

The Library staff has begun the process of tagging the entire collection to enable our radio frequency identification system to more efficiently manage the circulation of materials. This work will continue after the main library has closed and while the paving, landscaping and parking lot construction is completed. On a related note, the Library and its project team have developed plans to add parking, 12 spaces in total, on the spot where the Colburn School now rests. The plans will be reviewed by the Planning and Zoning Boards.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Library Project Progress & Timeline

At the end of December 2011 General Contractor TLT had completed more than half of their Phase 1 work. At this point in January the exterior masonry is almost finished and the majority of the sub-contractors are now at work inside the building. The stairways and elevator are being installed. Electrical, plumbing, and mechanical work is continuing. Wiring for the building’s security system has begun. Wiring for sound and projection systems in the first floor meeting and conference room will start shortly. Exterior curtain wall installation is ongoing.

The project schedule calls for the Main Library to close at the end of April, and all books and other materials to be moved into the new building in early May. Once this has been completed, the current library will be demolished and the site prepared for the re-location of the Colburn School.

To ensure the Library is completed in an integrated and efficient manner, the Permanent Building Committee approved Phase 2 of the project by extending TLT’s contract for 56 working days. The extension is due to the likelihood of damage from the Colburn School moving across the library site. Once the School move is complete, TLT will begin construction of the roadway and entrance court for the new library. They will also work on paving, landscaping, curbing and other details.

This means that the Main Library will be closed until early fall. We are planning to add hours at the Islington Branch Library during this period. Details on options for accessing library services will be published in the next several months.