by Doug McClure
HARDWICK – The $550,000 bond for the Jeudevine Memorial Library passed by a vote of 364-280. The additional funding rounds out the roughly $1.8 million needed for the expansion, the majority of which was raised separately.
Trustee Chair Jodi Lew-Smith said that while the bond vote was “the big final piece,” 200 individual donors had funded $250,000 “so, that’s huge.” With funding secured, fall work to demolish the former senior center will go out to bid.
The first step in the demolition process will be asbestos abatement in the old senior center before the library takes down the building. Lew-Smith said previously that due to the senior center’s small lot, deconstruction of the building would be prohibitively expensive.
Lew-Smith said the library was very appreciative and “I hope it’s going to be an economic boost to the community.” She said that with the upcoming completion of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, the library could serve as a “new entry to the town.” As drawn, the plan also adds community space for town events “we really hope people will use” and solves the current issue with a lack of ADA-accessibility. “It’s a very flexible space,” she said.
Lew-Smith said the expansion is mindful of the existing building’s historical significance. Built in 1896, it is one of just two libraries built by architect Lambert Packard, who also designed the Fairbanks Museum and Bradford’s library. The unique architecture is in the tradition of architect H. H. Richardson’s “Romanesque” style.
The construction of the new building is expected to start in the spring, but there is a chance some work might begin this fall. Lew-Smith said the trustees are aware that finances are tight because of the pandemic, and extra care will be taken to spend wisely.