Meeting tonight

Rockport Select Board to consider library architect choice

Posted:  Thursday, March 24, 2016 - 11:30am
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ROCKPORT — Selectmen will convene at 7 this evening at the Rockport Opera House and decide whether to contract with Reed and Company, of Portland, to design the town a new library.

The ad hoc Library Planning Committee voted 6 to 2 Wednesday to recommend Reed and Company to the Select Board at the Thursday meeting. Now it is up to the Select Board to vote.

Tonight’s meeting will be online at livestream.com/Rockportmaine.

 Six architectural firms spent almost an hour each last week presenting ideas for how Rockport might site and build a new library on its current lot, or in a nearby park. The town’s ad hoc library planning committee listened to all of them, and on Wednesday, March 23, they talked for almost two hours, ultimately voting to go with Reed.

 The selection of an architect is part of a process that includes getting a conceptual plan and cost estimate on the table by July or early August, and a proposal before voters in November.

No construction is to take place until fundraising for the library project has been completed, said planning committee chairman Jan Rosenbaum, on March 21. 

“There will be no shovels into the ground and no construction plans done until all the money has been raised,” he said. “The library undraising committee is to raise the money. It could be some time before the shovel goes in the ground.”

Currently, however, the work entails choosing an architect based on last week’s conversations. 

“We don't have a building,” said Rosenbaum. “We have six firms competing to work on a design of a building.”

Rosenbaum said the purpose of the presentations was for the committee to understand better each architectural firm’s approach to the project, and for them to “get an understanding of our situation, our town, and the site we are offering to them.” 

The Rockport Select Board had directed the Library Planning Committee in Decemver to circulate a request for qualifications to architects interested in the library project. Eleven firms responded, and from that, six were invited — and each paid $1,500 (out of the Library Committee’s autonomous operating budget) — to describe how they might design and engineering the new library.

The firms were: 
Priestley and Associates Architects, of Rockport
Reed & Co. Architecture, of Portland
Stahnke & Kitagawa Architects, of Brooksville
Stephen G. Smith Architects, of Camden
Stewart Brecher Architects, of Bar Harbor
Winton Scott Architects, of Portland

The Ad Hoc Library Planning Committee meeting minutes, schedule, news, contact email, and updates can be found at rockport.lib.me.us andtown.rockport.me.us.

Committee members include Ann Filley, Lynn Luzzi, Heather Mackey, Jan Rosenbaum, Joe Sternowski, Eric Frederick, Eric Denny, Tracy Murphy (Select Board liaison and voting member of the committee), and one member of the existing Library Committee. 

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Reach Editorial Director Lynda Clancy at lyndaclancy@penbaypilot.com; 207-706-6657