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Main Library Expansion Project Frequently Asked Questions from February 8, 2007

1. When will construction begin?

Construction began In January 2007.

2. Why did the construction take so long to begin?

As part of the new Public Construction law, an extensive prequalification process for subcontractors and general contractors was completed in the fall of 2005. Bids from the general contractors were opened in February 2006. Unfortunately, due extreme increases in the cost of building materials, which were exacerbated by the Gulf hurricanes and the building boom in China, the single bid received was significantly over budget. As a result, the entire procurement process had to redone after design changes were made to reduce costs. A contract was signed with Consigli/JF White in January 2007.

3. Why did the Main Library move in 2005 if construction wasn't going to begin until 2007?

Although from the exterior it looks like nothing has changed at 449 Broadway, work has been underway. Removal of hazardous materials in the Main Library has been completed. The boiler room of the 1889 building, which has not been used in decades, has been demolished but the cast iron boiler doors will be saved for display in the new library building. The walls of the stack area slated to be the young adult room have been sandblasted to expose the original brick. In the summer of 2006 extensive work was done to prepare the site and to make important utility connections into Broadway. The work was done in the summer to mitigate construction impacts on the students and faculty of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School and the Broadway neighborhood.

4. How long will the Main Library remain at the Longfellow School?

The Main Library will continue to operate out of the Longfellow School until shortly before the Main Library reopens in the new building.

5. What will the new library look like?

The original 1889 historic library at 499 Broadway will be completely restored and refurbished. The 1967 addition will be removed and a new open and airy addition will be constructed on the site of the library's parking lot.

6. If the addition is going on the parking lot, where will library patrons park?

A parking garage will be constructed under the park in front of the library. There will be spaces for 70 cars, twice the capacity of the current parking lot.

7. When will the new library open?

The new library will be open to the public in 2009.

8. What steps will be taken to mitigate the impact of the construction?

There are federal and state codes, city ordinances and legal requirements of the individual construction contract that provide protection from many of the impacts encountered during a public construction project. In this library expansion project, the city has delineated additional measures, contained in the contract specifications, that mandate further actions that the contractors must take to address a multitude of issues from control of dust, noise, traffic and rodents to site safety and tree protection. We will also maintain a web site, a telephonic hot-line, and a bulletin board that are all intended to further support the city's mitigation efforts.

9. What are the plans for security on the site?

The construction site will have a combination of chain-link and "jersey-barrier with plywood on top" fencing that will be a minimum height of six feet, eight inches. The fencing will completely surround the site and will be locked at all times when construction is not ongoing.

10. What is the construction schedule?

The sequencing of the project (demolition, excavation, construction) and its timetable is to be determined by the general contractor. We will have a better idea of what the schedule will look like very soon.