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Upton Library Officials Considering Renovation to Existing Facility

The Upton Town Library Trustees are currently looking to expand and renovate the existing library space in the Knowlton Risteen building. If the board goes forward with expanding the space, the library size would increase from the current 3,200 square feet to about 6,400. No matter what, the Trustees are looking into making the existing library ADA compliant, which would cost $210,000, while the expansion and making the entire building ADA compliant could run $3.5 million.

Upton Town Library Director Matthew Bachtold stated the Library's Board of Trustees are continuing to look into all options concerning much needed additional space and ADA compliancy for its patrons. However, after extensive research on possibly building a new facility for the town, the Trustees may be narrowing down their decision to instead recommend the renovation of the Knowlton Risteen Building.

Recently, a feasibility study was completed on the 2 Main St. structure which is offering up two different options on the existing facility. One being to make the first floor library ADA compliant, which would total approximately $210,000. The other choice would be to fully renovate the building, making it ADA complaint and doubling the Library's space. A rough estimate for the full renovation is $3.5 million, which would likely need to be brought before residents through a debt exclusion vote.

Currently, the Upton Library is 3,200 square feet. A renovation of the Knowlton Risteen structure would double that space, plus renovate the top floors which also holds the town's Historical Society. Bachtold stated its unlikely Community Preservation Act funding would be eligible for the full renovation project but will look into utilizing CPA funds towards ADA compliancy initiatives.

Other options for the Library have been on the table as well, including renovating another building in the area. Currently, the town is looking into buying and renovating the former Holy Angels Parish. Several departments, including the Council on Aging and the Library, have expressed interest in relocating to the site if the purchase and renovations go through. "It's still a possibility but right now we don't have enough information on it to make to make a decision," said Bachtold.

Should the Library Trustees decide to recommend going forward with the full renovation on the Knowlton Risteen Building, the Board of Selectmen would need to approve the measure and public hearings would also need to be held before bringing it to voters. If that's the route taken, Bachtold said he hopes it's not too far in the future as construction costs will only increase. The feasibility study is available at the Library for residents to view. The Library is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


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