The new Edgartown Free Public Library, scheduled to open this past June, will instead most likely welcome its first patrons sometime next spring, because of construction delays and a struggle to stay within the original $11 million budget. According to members of the library building committee, and the library board of trustees, trying to meet the original target date would have increased costs substantially.

“We wanted to pay more attention to budget than the timing,” said selectman Michael Donaroma, who is a member of the library building committee.

The building committee recently began discussions with the contractor, Maron Construction Co. of Rhode Island about the timeline and costs. Because of unexpected delays, the contractor was forced to house some construction workers over the summer months. The original construction schedule was weighted toward the winter months, to avoid the expense of summer housing, problems associated with workers traveling to the Island and shipping materials to the site.

“He had to pay more for housing than he planned on, and the [subcontractors] had to pay more for housing than they planned,” Mr. Donaroma said. He added that the contract with the town stipulates the contractor is required to pay a substantial monetary penalty for missing the June deadline.

“The builder has been reasonable throughout, and so has the building committee,” Mr. Donaroma said. “We’ll figure it out. Nobody is pushing to penalize these guys for not getting the job done. As a board, if we were to squeeze the builder and stick to the schedule, I think he would reasonably ask for considerably more money.” A Maron Construction Co. executive did not return a phone call seeking comment.

The result of the informal stalemate is that the project remains very close to on budget, though the library opening will be delayed.

“It’s the most practical approach,” said Julie Lively, chairman of the elected board of trustees. She said she expects construction to be finished in December, but more time will be needed to move the library collection from the current library on North Water Street, to install computers and other electronics, and to train staff. “We don’t have a date written in stone,” Ms. Lively said. “Last time we did that with the June date, we ran into unforeseen problems.”

The $11 million dollar project is funded almost entirely by taxpayers, including a $5 million state grant awarded by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

At this year’s annual town meeting, voters approved an additional $225,000 for the construction project. Just before the town meeting deadline, the building committee asked selectmen to amend the amount in the warrant article to $484,173, but selectman rejected the higher amount.

The building committee managed some of the fluctuation in costs by eliminating or modifying some interior design elements, such as flooring, finishes and furniture, to cover cost overruns in other budget lines, but it has been a tight juggling act. In construction projects of this size, builders include a contingency budget, to cover unexpected costs that inevitably appear. The standard amount is five per cent of construction costs.

“We had a very tight contingency budget,” Mr. Donaroma said. “We wanted to have five per cent, but we didn’t quite have that in the beginning. It was a really tight budget and so far we’ve managed to stay with it. In order to do that, we had to eliminate a few things we wanted.”

Demolition of the old Edgartown School building began in the summer of 2013. Hazardous waste mitigation, because of asbestos and other materials used in the original construction, added costs and time to the library project.

Construction of the new library began officially on Monday, March 24, 2014, when a group of town officials, dressed in warm clothes and white hard hats, stood in front of an excavator and thrust ceremonial golden shovels into a pile of dirt.

Almost immediately, the project ran into a problem. Despite test borings in the pre-engineering phase of construction, builders were surprised to find water when they began excavating for the foundation. Engineers later determined the water table in the area was about 15 or 16 feet below grade, which forced design changes to insure water did not seep into the basement of the new building.

The winter of 2015 also slowed progress considerably, when two paralyzing winter storms and several smaller storms dumped nearly four and a half feet of snow on the Island.

Ms. Lively asked town residents to be patient with the delays. “We’re going to have an incredible building,” she said.