CHESTER– Trustees for the Chester Public Library Tuesday presented a new library expansion plan to the board of selectmen. The plan focuses on an underground expansion on the west side of the historic 1906 library building on West Main Street.
Library trustees, using a $20,000 state grant, hired an architectural firm to explore options for expanding the library. In the fall of 2012, the trustees presented a plan for a 2,000 square-foot expansion that would double the size of the library building at an estimated cost of $3.09 million with additions on both sides of the building.
Trustees chairwoman Terry Schreiber said the plan drew a mixed response from residents attending to public information sessions held last March. She said architects with the South Windsor firm Drummey-Rosane-Anderson Inc. were asked to develop an alternative plan.
The new plan calls for a slightly smaller expansion, with most of the new space extending west from the existing basement underground beneath an existing parking area. The plan has an estimated price tag of about $2.8 million.
The trustees told the selectmen the next step was conducting a series of test borings to a depth of 25-feet to confirm the feasibility of the underground, lower level expansion. The borings would cost about $6,000.
But First Selectman Edmund Meehan said the trustees should obtain more community input before the town expends funds for the test borings. Selectman Tom Englert said he was uncomfortable with the underground expansion. “Some people may not want to have most of the new space under a parking lot,” he said.
The trustees agreed to hold another public information session on the alternative plan in January. Meehan said the trustees could then approach the board of selectmen with a funding request for the borings and other preliminary costs for the project.
Related letter: Chester Library Expansion Clarification