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Public Library Construction Reimbursement News

OLIS enters agreement with Bristol; Burrillville makes rapid progress

[March 1, 2007] In February the Office of Library and Information Services entered into an agreement to reimburse the eligible costs of the construction of a major addition to the Rogers Free Library in Bristol. The total estimated cost of the project is $9,900,000; the State of Rhode Island, through the Office of Library and Information Services, will reimburse up to $3,889,270 of the eligible costs of the project. Construction is expected to start in April or May of 2007, with completion in October 2008.

rogers library, site of addition
Rogers Free Library and site of addition
The project involves building a 22,000 square foot addition to the library on the site of the former Bristol Furniture Company building. The building was razed this past fall to make way for the library addition. (The demolition was not part of the agreement for state reimbursement.) The existing Rogers Free Library will be renovated and used to house audio-visual, large print and the Portuguese collection along with casual reading areas; the lower level will house administration and staff areas. The addition will house all other library functions, with ample space for all collections and services.

The Rogers Free Library project has had many stops and starts over the past 8 years. OLIS originally entered a reimbursement agreement for a $7,700,000 project in September 2005. That project involved rehabilitating the Bristol Furniture Building and connecting it to the library. Bids on the project exceeded the available budget and the library was unable to move forward with the project. Working with the local Historic District Commission, the RI Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission and input from local residents, the architects developed a plan to demolish the Bristol Furniture Building and build an addition that is compatible with the historic character of the Bristol Waterfront National Register Historic District.

jesse smith, steel frame
Steel frame, new Jesse Smith Library
In the northwest corner of the state, the Jesse M. Smith Memorial Library in Harrisville is making rapid progress thanks to the unseasonably warm weather during the first part of the winter. Construction began in September; the site has been cleared of several old mill buildings and the foundation and steel frame were in place by February. OLIS will reimburse up to $3,681,721 of this $8,100,000 project, which will result in a new 25,000 square foot building for the town of Burrillville. The library is being constructed on the site of the old Stillwater Mill on the Clear River. It will be the cornerstone of the revitalized Stillwater Mill complex which will include a senior center, affordable housing units, and some commercial establishments. The library is the first building to be constructed on the site; it is scheduled to be completed in March of 2008.

For more information about these two projects, visit OLIS' Construction Projects page.