Weymouth, MA – Mayor Robert Hedlund announced today that the Town of Weymouth’s Library Construction Committee will host a public forum to discuss the final design and anticipated construction schedule for the New Tufts Library Building Project. The public forum will take place Thursday, September 6th, at 7:00 pm in the Weymouth High School’s Mary Jo Livingstone Humanities Center. Tappé Architects of Boston will present the details of the new library’s final design and provide an overview of anticipated demolition and construction operations. Following the presentation, residents will have the opportunity to ask questions and become fully acquainted with the future library. For those unable to attend, the forum will be recorded and made available for viewing online after September 6th at http://weymouth.tv/.
“Our vision for the New Tufts Library has always been a place of opportunity, community engagement, and lifelong learning for residents,” said Mayor Robert Hedlund. “Tappé and the Library Construction Committee have done outstanding work developing a final design that is engaging, innovative, and, most importantly, attuned to the needs of our community. I encourage residents to attend the public forum and to learn all about the details that have gone into this important project.”
"Before bidding begins, it's important that we help our patrons and the wider community become familiar with the project’s final design and understand the timeline that will take us from here to the grand opening of our New Tufts Library," said the Town’s Director of Library Services, Robert MacLean. “We’re very excited to show the details of both the building plan and site plan. It’s going to be an engaging presentation, and we hope residents will come out to join us.”
The New Tufts Library is a $33 million public building project to replace the existing library, now more than 50 years old, and reconstruct the building as a modern, 21st-century library. The new building, while sitting on the same site as the existing Tufts Library, will provide an additional 17,000 gross square feet and will include an expanded children’s department, a new local history center, the library’s first digital media lab, numerous study rooms, a scalable technology infrastructure, programming space for various user groups, and a suite of community meeting rooms, many of which will be available to the public for after-hours use.
Background on the New Tufts Library Building Project
Planning for the New Tufts Library began in February 2016, when Mayor Hedlund and his staff recognized the need to invest in a new building shortly after taking office. Apart from accessibility challenges, the existing Tufts Library contains asbestos and has substantial repair and renovation needs, including a new roof, elevator, and technology infrastructure. Replacement of the HVAC system alone would cost upwards of one million dollars, while fixing the building’s other deficiencies would cost millions more.
To finance a new library, Mayor Hedlund assembled an informal Library Construction Committee (LCC), composed of a small working group of Town staff and residents, and charged the committee with preparing a grant application to the competitive Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP). While most cities and towns plan for at least two years before submitting a MPLCP application, Weymouth completed the required planning process in under a year. Doing so was critical to meeting the program’s 2017 deadline, as MPCLP grants are offered on an irregular basis, typically every five to six years.
In July 2017, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners awarded the Town a $12,085,184 Provisional Construction Grant for its New Tufts Library application. Weymouth was one of only nine communities to receive a MPLCP grant out of 33 library applicants. In October, the Town Council voted unanimously to accept the grant and authorized borrowing of the total estimated project cost of $33 million.
In December, Mayor Hedlund reestablished the LCC as a 13-member public body to oversee and advise the Office of the Mayor on all phases of the New Tufts Library Building Project. Goals for the LCC have included designing a main library that will be a source of pride for the community, a cultural and economic anchor for Weymouth Landing, and an example to the state of what a public library can and should be.
Over the last eight months, the LCC has spearheaded selection of the Town’s project manager, architect, and design team and has held 17 public meetings to oversee development of the library’s design. The LCC’s first public forum was held in March and included a series of early building design schemes for community feedback. A preferred scheme was approved in April, and the scheme was immediately advanced through design development into the final design and construction documents phase. At present, construction documents for the project are 60% complete, and bidding is anticipated to be completed by the end of the calendar year.
Design services for the New Tufts Library have been provided by Tappé Architects, with oversight from the LCC and Hill International of Boston, the Town’s Owner’s Project Manager (OPM). Over the last 37 years, Tappé has designed, planned, and facilitated over 90 public, private, and academic libraries, and is nationally recognized for its up-to-date understanding of trends and requirements in library design. In the past two years, the firm has opened five libraries, including two renovations and three new constructions. In addition, all libraries completed by Tappé since 2008 have achieved or exceeded their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification goals.