FALMOUTH — With about a month left before its deadline, the library has raised less than half of the additional $500,000 it needs to launch a renovation and expansion project that’s been under discussion for more than four years.
Through mid-December, Falmouth Memorial Library President Steven Knapp said, the institution had raised close to $200,000 of the amount needed.
In a 2014 referendum residents agreed to pay half the cost of a new $5.6 million library, if the organization could raise the other half. But this summer library leaders learned they would need at least $1 million more to get the project off the ground.
In November, residents supported another library bond and agreed to borrow $500,000 more if the library could raise the other half of the additional amount required. The goal of the project is to enlarge the library to 18,000 square feet.
It took the library so long to raise its share of the initial funding that construction costs skyrocketed, leading to the cost overrun, the board told the Town Council last summer.
Knapp said he’s confident a groundbreaking can still happen as planned next spring.
“We have been doing a number of things to increase awareness of this appeal, from road races to private parties to other mailings and select fundraisers,” he said. “Our community continues to be generous, with many donors providing second and third donations.”
In addition, he said John Wasileski, owner of the OceanView retirement community, and others have “provided steadfast support and largess as we come to the close of this effort.”
“It’s crucial,” Knapp said, that the library raise the full $500,000, since the town will only match what is actually raised. While the official deadline is Jan. 10, 2019, Knapp said the library would continue to accept donations and pledges through at least Jan. 31.
“We are very excited about the expansion,” he added, especially because the current “library is bursting at the seams and woefully out-of-date.”
“This expansion will bring the library into the 21st century with an updated technology infrastructure, a children’s wing with a dedicated teen space, an adult wing, small meeting rooms for telecommuters and businesses, and a space where the community can come together to gather and learn,” Knapp said.
“Parts of the building are over 100 years old and cannot meet the growing technology and programming needs of the community,” he said. “The new building will also be energy and staff efficient.”
Knapp said the construction project is expected to take between 10 and 12 months. Library functions will be moved during the project, most likely to the Mason-Motz Activity Center off Middle Road.
In the meantime, he said the “architect and construction manager are continuously looking at ways to bring costs down and will be going out for bids after January.”
If those bids also come in higher than budgeted, Knapp said, “we will take appropriate steps to bring the project in line with funding levels while doing our utmost to avoid impacts to programming.”
“To ensure the needs of our entire community are met we hope people will consider donating now,” he said. “Any additional donations would be greatly appreciated … (and) there are still a few spots available in the 1718 Society, (which means) a donation of $3,000 in honor of Falmouth’s Tercentennial.”
In all, according to Knapp, “the response to this latest fundraising effort has been humbling and we thank the entire town for recognizing the importance of this community asset.”
Time is running out for Falmouth Memorial Library to raise the additional $500,000 it needs for a long-planned expansion.