$10.99M bid awarded to D.A. Sullivan & Sons for Tilton Library project

Tilton Library on North Main Street in South Deerfield.

Tilton Library on North Main Street in South Deerfield. STAFF FILE PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

By CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer

Published: 04-02-2024 1:41 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Roughly 10 years after the project’s seeds were planted, Tilton Library’s expansion project is just weeks away from beginning, as the town has awarded the construction bid to D.A. Sullivan & Sons Inc.

The Northampton-based construction company’s $10.99 million bid was the only one Deerfield received and the town opted to accept the base bid only. Town officials and Project Manager Daniel Pallotta noted the bid came in “higher than anticipated,” but there should be no budgetary issues, especially since the town saved money on a temporary space by using the South Deerfield Congregational Church at 71 North Main St.

“We made some adjustments in the short term,” Deerfield Selectboard and Tilton Library Building Committee member Tim Hilchey said in a phone interview. “The architect’s fee was reduced and the project manager’s fee was reduced so we could bring the bid back into line.”

Between town allocations, library fundraising and state grants, the project has been expected to cost $12.3 million, which includes contingencies and expenses related to moving to a temporary space.

Pallotta added that high bids for projects are common in the region and it is not an indictment on Tilton Library’s expansion project.

“It’s really tight, I’d be lying to you to tell you it wasn’t. It’s tight, but it’s doable and the team is going to finish the task we started,” Pallotta said at last week’s Selectboard meeting. “The general bid itself came in higher than we thought due to the fact that we only had one bidder. This is a problem for the Pioneer Valley; this is not a Deerfield issue.”

Tilton Library’s expansion project will nearly triple the building’s square footage from 4,366 square feet to 12,784 square feet. Key improvements include expanded teen and children’s rooms, meeting and co-working spaces on the second floor, and a “nighttime suite” that will be accessible after normal library hours and feature meeting spaces, a small kitchen and bathrooms.

Although the budget is a little tighter than anticipated, Hilchey said Tilton Library is in good hands with D.A. Sullivan, as the company also handled construction of the Greenfield Public Library, which ultimately cost about $1.6 million less than its projected budget. Pallotta and architect Philip O’Brien also led Greenfield’s project.

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“We’re pretty excited about it because we know the architect and project manager worked together on the Greenfield library,” Hilchey said. “We have a fair degree of confidence that they’re going to bring it in at or under budget.”

During construction, Tilton Library will operate at the South Deerfield Congregational Church during its regular hours. However, the library will be closed from April 5 until May 1, as its books, equipment and other items are moved to the church. Parking at the temporary space is available between the church and the 1888 Building and patrons are asked to use the accessible ramp in the back.

Folks can expect some construction activity around the site in the latter half of this month, as construction fencing and other equipment arrives. Hilchey said groundbreaking is expected near the end of April or early May.

“Library patrons will be able to watch the project while they’re checking out their books,” Hilchey said. “It’s gonna be great.”

For more information on Tilton Library’s expansion project, visit tiltonlibrary.org/building-project.

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.