Public forum set for Tilton Library expansion

By CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer

Published: 05-13-2023 10:16 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD – As Tilton Library’s expansion project moves through the design phase, residents will get a chance to provide feedback at a public forum this week.

The forum will serve as a chance for residents to see the building’s updated design, including the shifted orientation of the addition, which Library Director Candace Bradbury-Carlin said will protect nearby trees, create open space for outdoor activities and open up more of the roof for solar panels. In all, the $12.3 million project will expand the building from 4,366 to 12,784 square feet and include energy efficiency upgrades, renovating and expanding existing rooms, and improved accessibility.

The hybrid presentation will take place on Tuesday, May 16, at 6 p.m. at Town Hall, 8 Conway St. Bradbury-Carlin expects the session to last about an hour and a half, as she and Library Trustees Chair Satu Zoller give a brief introduction followed by a slideshow presented by architect Philip O’Brien. A Zoom link will be available on the town’s website at https://bit.ly/3Mimtqi.

“We’ll walk through what the Building Committee has approved,” Bradbury-Carlin said, noting there are no “big, major changes” other than changing the addition’s orientation.

Major changes cannot be made because the $4 million Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) grant the library received for its expansion requires certain aspects to remain the same as it was in preliminary plans.

Laying out a tentative timeline, Bradbury-Carlin said the architect is working on the design-development phase that will take him through July and construction documents can be sent out to bid in the fall. Interior work is expected to begin in January and ground will be broken outdoors in February or March 2024.

Tilton Fund and capital campaign update

As part of the funding for the project, Tilton Library is continuing its capital campaign through the Tilton Fund. As of this week, the library has raised $827,000 of its $2 million goal and will be hosting fundraising events throughout the summer. The first is coming up on Monday, May 22, with local ornithologist and author David Sibley, who will be answering people’s questions. The event will be held in the Tree House Brewing Co. theater, 1 Community Place, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $45, with an additional $10 for a beer ticket and $25 for a copy of Sibley’s latest book, “What It’s Like to Be a Bird.” All proceeds go to the Tilton Fund.

Tickets can be purchased at bit.ly/413jB51.

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Bradbury-Carlin said the goal is to raise 70% of their $2 million by early next year and complete it during the early construction phase.

Other ways people can contribute to the Tilton Fund are by making donations to its PayPal account or volunteering with the Capital Campaign Committee. For more information about Tilton Library’s expansion project and the Tilton Fund, visit tiltonlibrary.org/building-project.

“The whole thing is on an upswing, we had the vote, we have the design and we’re ready to bring it to the public,” Bradbury-Carlin said. “The mood is high.”

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

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