Letter: Questions about proposed Falmouth library costs

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Thank you for publishing news about the Falmouth Memorial Library expansion. My wife and I are strong supporters of the library. However, I have a question about the proposed costs.

The proposed new construction is 11,320 square feet, with an estimated cost of $3.2 million, or $290 per square foot. I am not a builder, nor knowledgeable about building costs, but the price per square foot seems high. Accordingly, I Googled building costs for a new library and obtained “Construction Costs Estimates for Library in Portland Maine” from reedconstructiondata.com. Their data is for 2013 and for a new, 22,000-square-foot library; their costs were from $154.12 per square foot for union Labor to $140.03 per square foot for an open shop. I have asked others why the proposed Falmouth library estimate is so high and was told it might be because of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification and related expenses. However, a 2011 article discussing LEED costs in the Journal of Sustainable Real Estate noted these costs are only about 2 percent of a project, so if accurate, this is not the reason.

I have sent a copy of this letter to the library president and would hope that he sends a response explaining why the proposed estimate for the new library construction is about twice what the Reed Construction website proposed. Perhaps there is a simple explanation, but I believe the people of Falmouth would like to know.

Dr. Lawrence M. Leonard