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Library still on track for spring 2024

Abbot Public Library is undergoing a $10 million renovation. Photo by Spenser Hasak

Abbot Public Library Director Kimberly Grad met with the Abbot Public Library Board of Trustees Monday night at the library’s current home, the Eveleth School. Grad debriefed the board on reading events she has planned for this summer, and in turn the board gave an update on the renovation project at the library on 235 Pleasant St. 

Board members were able to take two tours over the past two weeks with the Friends of the Marblehead Public Schools, in which they got a firsthand view of the facility’s renovations. Board members unanimously expressed their satisfaction with what they have seen so far. Chair Gary Amberik said nearly all the renovation’s cosmetic choices have been made, then Board member Deb Payson asked if there will be a door from the library to the courtyard.

“There’s gonna be a new wrought-iron gate,” Amberik answered. “A double-swing gate with push hardware and panic hardware, so it meets Egress requirements and it’s easy to open.”

He also reported that the existing gate at the library will be given the same update.

After the meeting concluded, Amberik gave additional insight on the totality of the renovation process. Having not been renovated since 1989, there were many changes needed to bring a high standard to library attendees.

In 2018, we engaged an engineering firm to perform a comprehensive assessment of the library’s infrastructure. It was determined that the majority of the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems either were, or are very close to being, at the end of their useful lifespan and were no longer providing reliable service,” Amberik said. “The renovation includes new energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, energy-efficient LED lighting systems, improved high-speed WiFi, upgraded and expanded fire-alarm and fire-sprinkler systems, a new elevator, and new landscaping.”

For the budget, construction costs did come in higher than originally estimated due to market escalation and inflation. However, Amberik credits the Abbot Public Library Foundation for closing that financial gap by committing an additional $500,000.

The only real challenge to next spring’s deadline has been the acquisition of an emergency generator, but Amberik is determined to not let that disrupt the timeline.

“We were recently notified by our electrical subcontractor that the lead time for the emergency generator has increased significantly,” Amberik said. “So we are looking at various interim solutions to allow the library to open as scheduled next spring.”

Amberik spoke for the entire board when he said Grad and her staff have done an amazing job keeping services going in the temporary location. He said they are all very much looking forward to the grand reopening of the new Abbot Public Library.