Charles M. Bailey Library officials haven’t quite raised all the money for the library’s expansion, but they hope to break ground on the project this fall.

Construction costs and a zoning requirement have library and town leaders alike feeling some urgency to get started on the one-story addition that will house the Winthrop library’s adult services and children’s collection.

As a result, the Town Council plans to include $300,000 for the project in a larger bond encompassing other town needs. Though the library will need to repay the money, it will have enough money on hand to seek construction bids.

“It takes the pressure off and allows us more time to raise the remaining funds,” said Dale Glidden, chairman of the steering committee for the expansion.

Glidden said design work is about 80 percent complete, and he and other project leaders plan to ask the council in early July to put the project out for bids. The ideal timeline calls for councilors to choose a contractor in August so that construction can begin in September.

Though the library is an independent department led by a board of trustees, the town owns the property.

Planning of the library expansion began about four years ago with a projected budget of $1.3 million. The designs later were modified to reduce the cost to $1 million, and the fundraising committee brought in about $750,000 from large donors, foundations and grants before kicking off public fundraising in May, about a month after an old Masonic hall was demolished to make way for the addition.

Town Councilor Sarah Fuller said zoning requires that construction start within a year of the Masonic hall’s demolition.

In addition, Glidden said, library officials are worried their budget could become obsolete if they wait to raise the full $1 million before starting construction.

“My concern is that now the economy is turning around, contractors are going to start to get busy, construction costs are going to start to increase, materials are going to increase, et cetera, et cetera, and our budget estimate would no longer be good,” Glidden said.

The bond will probably be for seven years, but library officials said they think they’ll be able to raise the money to pay back their portion of it in less time than that.

Library Director Richard Fortin said the donations received so far show great community support, and excitement and interest have only increased since the Masonic hall came down and the public phase of the fundraising campaign started.

Fortin said people in Winthrop have been talking since the 1960s about expanding the library, and recent developments are making the idea more tangible for residents who have been hearing about it off and on for decades.

“Once the bid is awarded and even once they see the foundation, I think that people are going to be excited to use the bigger library, and I think we’ll have no issue (raising the money),” Fortin said.

Susan McMillan — 621-5645

[email protected]

Twitter: @s_e_mcmillan

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