Library panel chosen

May 15, 2019

As the Watertown Public Library Board of Trustees continues to negotiate a contract with the architect for the library’s expansion project, it formed a building design working group.

Board President Jonathan Lampe said most of what they are going back-and-forth on are legal terms on who is responsible for what and who provides input in the process at which stage.

The group is made up of library Director Peg Checkai, President and CEO Tina Crave of the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation, Board Member Erin O’Neill, Kathy Wagner, Jim Holloway and Rick McCarthy, the architect. O’Neill said Checkai, Crave and she are the main group members and the other members may change over time as the library progress moves forward.

The group will collaborate with architect McCarthy of Studio GC on the design of the library and follow a four-page document provided by the board that describes what they want in the design of the project.

“That essentially enables them to start working with the architect and being able to lay out the next phase which is going to be the schematic design,” Lampe said. “So far we have a rough picture of what we want to do. That’s what we took through the architectural sessions last year with the public and that involved a handful of renderings, a floor plan that basically specs things out at a square footage level.”

Lampe said the schematic design and the following phases will allow them to get better costs estimates for the project and determine what will be in the library. He explained the architect contract buys them the architectural services to develop a plan that will get the board these cost estimates. The contract has multiple phases, including the schematic design.

The board has tabled using a construction manager for the expansion project. That was among the things the board discussed with the architect about.

“We’re basically pulling back on the request for proposal that we were on the cusp of issuing,” Lampe said. “We basically said we’re going to move forward with the building design working group without a construction manager in the committee at this time.”

Lampe said a part of that reason is the board was able to find community expertise that made them comfortable enough to move forward with the schematic phase.

“It was a split decision and there were some strong voices on the board who basically are looking for us to revisit the construction manager in a future phase.”