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Brattleboro Library, Field and Pool to See Improvements

August 18, 2016

BRATTLEBORO >> Three projects on town-owned properties are moving forward after a meeting Tuesday.

“We’ve been busy over at the library,” said Starr LaTronica, director of the Brooks Memorial Library.

Part of a generous monetary donation from Donald Read will go toward renovations on the building that will be 50 years old next year, she said. Greenberg Associates helped develop plans with project manager Steve Horton. GPI Construction, of Brattleboro, is expected to begin the work next month.

The estimated cost is still in flux, according to LaTronica. All of the funds will come from Read, the Dummerston resident who left $1.2 million to the library and $4.8 million to Brattleboro Memorial Hospital after he died in June 2014.

Jerry Carbone, library director before LaTronica, received feedback from the community on what people wanted to see improved in the building. Library trustees were responsible for investing the rest of the funds coming from Read.

A new space proposed for the building was shown to the Select Board via floor plans. Rooms will be designated for the staff and community.

“This is what we call the glass box. It’s a two story glass room,” said LaTronica, explaining that it would be split in two sections. “One is for the reference librarian, who desperately needs an office. The other, larger half will be a small meeting room.”

A new young adult section will be modeled after the existing reading room and children’s room.

“One of the things we’ve heard over and over again is we need a place for teens, where they don’t feel like little kids,” said LaTronica.

Technical services will be moved to a different section of the library for the creation of the teen area. Employees in this department “get all the books ready for you to check out,” said LaTronica.

“They’re going to get a lovely new area and a sink,” she said.

Another floor will be added to make room for “a small space meeting room,” according to LaTronica.

“We’re able to slightly expand the footprint of the building by adding that room,” she said.

A new bathroom compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act will be added to the first floor. And a bathroom on the second floor will be expanded to meet ADA codes, too.

Parts of the children’s room upstairs will be updated. Lights currently “held together with tape” will be replaced. The hope also is to replace shelves in the room with new ones.

Asked to compare her experience overseeing several libraries in Binghamton, N.Y., LaTronica said, “It’s a librarian’s dream come true.”

“Because this community loves their library,” she added.

Swimming pool

Recreation & Parks Department Director Carol Lolatte said this is a very exciting time for her department as it begins the first phase of renovations on the Living Memorial Park Pool. A daily loss of 30,000 gallons of water from the pool was reported.

The pool project will involve upgrades to the perimeter wall below the gutter, re-welding of the gutter where the welds have failed, repairing expansion joints, and refinishing parts of the pool and repainting. The town awarded the job to lone bidder, GS Bolton, of Rochester, N.H.

The $137,000 estimate includes painting. But Lolatte said that could be deducted and $5,000 can get taken off the cost if the town could do it. The freed up funds, which were already allocated to the project, could be applied to the $33,500 needed to bring the main drain up to code.

“It looks like it all comes within budget,” said Gartenstein.

West River Park

Landscaping and seating improvements planned at the softball field at West River Park were approved with a $9,985 price tag. Bellco Excavation, of Brattleboro, won the bid. Browns County Service, of West Dover, came in a close second. But a Chicopea, Mass., company gave a quote almost $18,000 higher than Browns’.

The West River Park Committee has more than $20,019 in an account for developing the park, according to Lolatte. This can be used to cover the project.

Call Chris Mays at 802-254-2311, ext. 273.