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In July 2017, the Town of Weymouth secured a $12,085,184 grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) for the construction of the New Tufts Library. This project will demolish the existing building, now more than 50 years old, and reconstruct the Tufts Library as a modern, 21st-century library on the same site. Funding for this grant was awarded through the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP), which will finance approximately 41 percent of the New Tufts Library's eligible cost. The remaining balance has been financed through a $33,061,309 municipal bond, which the MPLCP grant will assist in paying down.
While most cities and towns plan for at least two years before submitting a MPLCP grant application, Weymouth had less than a year to prepare its project for consideration. Mayor Hedlund quickly assembled a Library Construction Committee (LCC), initiated development of a library building program, and committed $100,000 to hiring an architectural firm for the building's preliminary design. At the announcement of the 2016-2017 grants, Weymouth was one of only nine communities to receive funding out of 33 library applicants. In October 2017, the Town Council voted unanimously to accept the grant and authorized borrowing of the $33 million for the total project cost. Find the most recent project budget and cost summary report here.
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What is the MPLCP?
The MPLCP (Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program) assists local libraries with financing major capital improvement projects, including the construction of new public libraries, the expansion and renovation of existing libraries, and the retrofitting of other buildings for reuse as public libraries. The average MPLCP grant covers 45 to 50 percent of a project’s total eligible construction cost, with the remaining balance paid by the municipality.
To be eligible for a MPLCP grant, applicant libraries must:
- be a free public library located in Massachusetts.
- be certified by the MBLC as meeting the minimum state standards for public library service.
- have a current long-range plan and annual action plan on file at the MBLC.
- have a written library building program approved by the MBLC.
- have a schematic design consistent with the library's building program.
- comply with all requirements under MBLC regulations 605 CMR 6.00.
The MPLCP has been continuously funded through state bond authorizations since 1987 and has assisted more than 200 communities build new libraries or expand and renovate existing ones. Grants are offered on an irregular basis, typically every five to six years, based on the availability of funds administered by the MBLC.
Why invest in a new library?
Tufts Library was constructed in 1965 and was considered a modern library for its time. More than 50 years later, the building is outdated, inflexible, and a relic in a world where libraries have evolved from hushed reading rooms to bustling community centers.
Even in the online age, more people visit their public library each year in Massachusetts than attend Patriots, Celtics, Bruins, and Red Sox games combined. People depend on their local library for access to technology and as a community space where programs and other activities help them learn new skills and connect with neighbors. According to the MBLC, attendance at public library programs has increased 49 percent since 2006, and every 5.5 seconds a Massachusetts resident accesses the internet through a public library. Between FY2010 and FY2016, the number of library programs in Weymouth increased by 23 percent and program attendance increased by 160 percent. Meeting room usage also increased by 44 percent during this same period. The existing Tufts Library has neither the space nor technology to keep pace with this growing demand for services.
Mayor Hedlund and his staff recognized the need for investment in a New Tufts Library shortly after taking office. Apart from basic accessibility concerns, the existing building 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 a million dollars, while fixing the building’s other deficiencies would cost millions more. In the end, the Town would be left with a library no better equipped to provide for the needs of the community.
For the past 30 years, every local library to receive a MPLCP grant has experienced significant growth following completion of its construction project. One study of libraries in Massachusetts that built new buildings or renovated existing ones between 1994 and 2004 found that the number of library visits increased 30 percent once construction was complete. That's 30 percent more people walking, driving, and taking public transportation to their local library, creating value for surrounding businesses and neighborhoods.
What will the new library design include?
Modern library design focuses on flexibility, with priority placed on elements such as an efficient and cost-effective floor plan, flexible spaces that can be reconfigured and repurposed for new uses, and an infrastructure that can expand and adapt with changes in needs and technology over time. The New Tuft Library will incorporate all these elements. Major improvements will include:
- An expanded children's services department with programming spaces for multiple age groups
- A suite of community meeting rooms allowing for after-hours use
- Special gathering spaces for juveniles, tweens, and young adults
- A media lab for digital "maker" activities such as audio-visual and computer modeling
- An expanded technology infrastructure of public computers, PACs, and wireless internet
- Open reading areas infused with comfortable seating and outdoor views
- Numerous study rooms equipped with smart technologies
- A local history center to display and preserve the library's nationally significant collection
- An amphitheater and other outdoor open spaces for performance-based programs, active learning, and passive recreation
Project Budget and Timeline
Month & Year
The branch libraries reopen on schedule with new extended hours and expanded collections from the old Tufts Library.
|Nov 2018||The LCC presents the New Tufts Library's final design and schedule to the Town Council.|
|Nov 2018||The Tufts Library closes to the public on November 5, 2018. #FarewellOldTufts. The library's staff and collections are temporarily moved and divided among the Town's three branch libraries. All branch libraries are closed during the move.|
|Nov 2018||The Town releases an Invitation for Bids (IFB) on November 1, 2018. Only prequalified general contractors and subcontractors are eligible to submit bids and filed sub-bids in response to this IFB.|
|Oct 2018||The LCC approves 95% construction documents (CDs) for the New Tufts Library Project and approves the scheduled release of 100% bid documents on November 1, 2018. The project advances to the bid stage on schedule and within budget.|
|Oct 2018||The LCC approves the Prequalification Committee's list of prequalified general contractors and subcontractors.|
|Sep 2018||The LCC approves 60% construction documents (CDs) for the New Tufts Library Project. The project advances to 100% CDs on schedule and within budget.|
|Sep 2018||The LCC hosts a public forum to present the New Tufts Library's final design, prepared by Tappé Architects.|
|Jun 2018||The LCC establishes a Prequalification Committee to prequalify general contractors and subcontractors to submit bids and filed sub-bids for the New Tufts Library Project.|
|May 2018||The LCC approves design development (DD) plans for the New Tufts Library Project. The project advances to the Construction Documents (CD) Phase on schedule and within budget.|
|Apr 2018||The LCC selects a building scheme for detailed design development. The New Tufts Library Building Project advances to the Design Development (DD) Phase.|
|Mar 2018||The LCC hosts a public forum to present design schemes for the New Tufts Library, prepared by Tappé Architects.|
|Mar 2018||The LCC recommends, and Mayor Hedlund approves, Tappé Architects of Boston as Project Designer for the New Tufts Library Project. The project advances to the Schematic Design (SD) Phase.|
|Feb 2018||The LCC adopts 14 factors of project success to form the New Tufts Library's Project Charter.|
|The LCC recommends, and Mayor Hedlund approves, Hill International of Boston as Owner's Project Manager (OPM) of the New Tufts Library Project.|
|Dec 2017||Mayor Hedlund expands and reestablishes the LCC as an advisory board to assist the Office of the Mayor in design and construction of the New Tufts Library.|
|Oct 2017||The Town Council votes unanimously to authorize borrowing of the total project cost for the New Tufts Library Project.|
|Jul 2017||The MBLC awards the Town a $12,085,184 Provisional Construction Grant.|
|Jan 2017||The Town submits its MPLCP grant application for construction of the New Tufts Library.|
The LCC and Johnson Roberts Associates present the final version of the preliminary (grant-application) design to the Town Council. The Town Council votes unanimously to accept the design and authorizes the Council President to sign the MPLCP grant application and provide a letter of support.
|Dec 2016||The LCC hosts a public forum with Johnson Roberts Associates to present a draft of the preliminary (grant-application) design for the New Tufts Library.|
The Town Council votes unanimously to authorize the Mayor and the Board of Trustees of the Public Library to apply for, accept, and expend any state grants for public library construction, and to commit all project land to the care, custody, management, and control of the Weymouth Public Libraries for construction of a public library and associated parking.
The Director of Library Services and Johnson Roberts Associates present a draft version of the preliminary grant-application design to the Board of Trustees of the Public Library.
The LCC organizes a Youth Library Design Challenge for children and teens to model or design their own library or library space. Submissions are unveiled at a reception on October 26, 2016.
The LCC hires Johnson Roberts Associates of Somerville to prepare the preliminary (grant-application) design for a New Tufts Library.
|Jun 2016||The Town Council votes unanimously to appropriate $100,000 for development of a preliminary (grant-application) design for the New Tufts Library.|
|Jun 2016||The LCC approves the Library Building Program for submission to the MBLC. The MBLC approves the program one week later.|
The Director of Library Services and Heritage Planning & Design present a draft version of the Library Building Program to the Town Council.
The LCC hosts the second of two public forums with Heritage Planning & Design to gather public input for the Library Building Program. This second public forum focuses on children's library services.
|May 2016||The 2016-2017 MPLCP Grant round officially opens on May 5, 2016. Letters of intent are due October 7, 2016. Applications are due January 26, 2017.|
|May 2016||The LCC hosts the first of two public forums with Heritage Planning & Design to gather public input for the Library Building Program. This first public forum focuses on general library building and service needs.|
1,391 people participate in the Library Building Program survey developed by the LCC and Heritage Planning & Design. The survey is sent electronically to all cardholders of the Weymouth Public Libraries, and to all students and parents of the Weymouth Public Schools. The survey is further made available at all library branches, and is shared electronically through social media.
The LCC hires Heritage Planning & Design of Cambridge to prepare a Library Building Program for the New Tufts Library.
Mayor Hedlund appoints a Library Construction Committee (LCC) to prepare a MPLCP grant application. The LLC is composed of the Director of Library Services, Director of Planning & Community Development, Director of Asset & Facilities Management, Administrative Services Coordinator, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Public Library, and a resident of the community with 38 years of experience as a public library director.
Green Library Incentive
Building plans for the New Tufts Library include obtaining the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. MPLCP projects that achieve LEED certification are eligible for additional grant funds through the Green Library Incentives Program. LEED-certified libraries can receive incentives totaling 2 to 3.5 percent of their total MPLCP award.
- Energy Efficiency Report: Final LEED Analysis Based on Bid Set (Andelman and Lelek, Dec 2018)
- Video: Town Council Public Meeting - Final Design/Project Update (WETC, Nov 2018)
- Presentation: New Tufts Library Project Update - Town Council (LCC, Nov 2018)
- 60% Construction Documents (CD) Plans (Tappé, Aug 2018)
- Video: New Tufts Library Final Design - Public Forum (WETC, Sep 2018)
- Video: Fly-Through of the New Tufts Library (Tappé, Sep 2018)
- Presentation: New Tufts Library Final Design - Public Forum (Tappé, Sep 2018)
- Design Development (DD) Plans Approved for Construction Documents (Tappé, May 2018)
- Design Scheme Approved for Design Development (Tappé, Apr 2018)
- Video: New Tufts Library Design Schemes - Public Forum (WETC, Mar 2018)
- Presentation/Video: New Tufts Library Design Schemes - Public Forum (Tappé, Mar 2018)
- Video: Designer Interview - Tappé Architects (WETC, Mar 2018)
- Designer Response Proposal - Tappé Architects (Tappé, Feb 2018)
- Presentation: Pre-Proposal Designer Information Session (Weymouth Libraries, Feb 2018)
- Presentation: OPM Interview (Hill International, Jan 2018)
- OPM Reponse Proposal - Hill International (Hill, Dec 2017)
- Video: Town Council Public Hearing - Borrowing Authorization (WETC, Oct 2017)
- Presentation: Borrowing Authorization - Town Council Public Hearing (Weymouth Libraries, Oct 2017)
- MA Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP) Grant Application (Weymouth Libraries, Jan 2017)
- Video: Town Council Presentation - Grant App. Preliminary Design (WETC, Jan 2017)
- Grant Application Preliminary Design (Johnson Roberts Associates, Jan 2017)
- Library Building Program (Heritgage Planning & Design, Jun 2016)
- Presentation: Library Building Program - Town Council (Heritage Planning & Design, May 2016)