At a meeting Monday, the Edgartown Library building committee discussed three early-stage construction options for a new town library: renovating the Carnegie building and adjacent Warren House; renovating the old Edgartown School, and renovating only the Carnegie building with a small addition on the back. The last two options would include the sale of the Warren House.
The options were presented by project manager Rick Pomroy, along with a draft cost analysis for each. A separate hazardous materials and structural analysis performed for the old school and the Carnegie building, which houses the current library, were also presented. The reports found that both buildings are sound, and that the 16,000-square-foot former elementary school is suitable for renovation into a public library. “For the structural side of things, the results were very favorable for the [old Edgartown] school,” Mr. Pomroy said. “With regards to hazardous material study, there is a good amount of asbestos, lead paint and mold in the school, and the majority exists in the crawl space and basement. That area would need to be remediated, but we weren’t too surprised.”
The building committee has a budget of $300,000 to restart a design process that was scrapped last winter after a plan to rebuild the library grew beyond $15 million.
Headed by Chris Scott, an Edgartown resident who works as executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust, the building committee will present the three design options in a public meeting on Oct. 4, along with architects Celia Imrey and Jeffrey Hoover.
Because plans are still preliminary and acting on the recommendation of Mr. Scott, Edgartown selectmen decided this week that there will be no articles relating to the library expansion on an Oct. 28 special town meeting warrant. Last week selectmen had considered placing an article on the warrant asking for an appraisal of the Warren House with an eye toward possible sale. The house was bought by the town five years ago for $3.5 million when the town thought it could be used as a library annex.
The building committee meeting Monday revealed underlying tensions surrounding the library project, including whether or not to sell the Warren House.
“The town has to decide whether it wants to commit more funds,” Mr. Scott said. “If the answer is no, then why are we keeping the Warren House?” he added.
“Why aren’t we adding the [old] school building because we’re going to have to sell the school building to help fund the project if the library stays here,” library trustee Anne Tyra returned. “I would put both properties [on the market].”
Later the same day at their weekly meeting, selectmen addressed the concerns of library advocates when it was announced the library articles would be taken off the warrant for the special town meeting.
“The board of selectmen has to do work determining where we are financially,” selectman Arthur Smadbeck said. “We need to make a decision which way to go, and we need the [library] trustees to concur, and then we’re off to the races.”
The Edgartown Library Foundation, a private organization, has raised $500,000 to put toward the project, according to its chairman Ann Vose.