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Erving breaks ground for a new library

  • State and local officials hold their shovels aloft in celebration at Friday’s groundbreaking for the new Erving Public Library. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Sen. Jo Comerford, D-Northampton, speaks at the ceremony. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • A architect’s rendition of the new Erving Public Library. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Rep. Susannah Whipps, I-Athol, speaks. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • The new library will be located between the elementary school and the Erving Senior Center. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Sen. Jo Comerford, D-Northampton, speaks at the ceremony. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 3/29/2019 7:37:11 PM

ERVING — With shovels of dirt, the groundbreaking ceremony between the Erving Elementary School and Senior Center marked the beginning of  construction for a $5.5 million public library project on Friday.

Rep. Susannah Whipps, I-Athol, Sen. Jo Comerford, D-Northampton, Erving Selectboard members, Town Administrator Bryan Smith, Board of Trustee members, Erving Library Director Barbara Friedman and others joined Erving Elementary Schoolers to witness the groundbreaking for one of the town’s biggest municipal projects.

Whipps said libraries take a long time to get constructed and some planning began before some of the elementary school students were born.

“As I was driving down here today, in the rain, I was thinking, ‘Ugh rain,’” Whipps said. “But then it springtime, and we all know you need rain for growth and today is a tremendous example of growth in a community.”

Comerford said she was delighted to see state investments in important projects like libraries.

“I was recently at a library gathering where news of the Erving library groundbreaking made everyone want to cheer because. Like Rep. Whipps said, it really represents a town that is invested in a long and beautiful planning process,” Comerford said. “It also represents money coming from the state, which it should, to communities like Erving to lift up what we know are vital public services.”

In February 2018, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners announced a $2.7 million grant to help fund the project.

Jan Resnick, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners chair, said participating in the construction of a new library is one of the boards’ greatest privileges.

“You’ve worked long and hard to reach this point,” Resnick said. “Now you’re seeing before you the first steps to bringing your dream to reality. We’re living in a time of deep divisions. Coming together and finding a common purpose is important.”

Friedman said she began planning for this project in 2010. The construction project is estimated to be completed in nine months and the new library may open in early 2020.

Marois Construction Company, Inc. of South Hadley was chosen in January as the general contractor for Erving’s public library project, which was designed by Johnson Roberts Associates, Inc. of Somerville. The lead architect is Philip O’Brien. Project managers are Daniel Pallotta and Robert Todisco of P3, Inc.

The new library is going to be 8, 294 square feet, four times the size of the current library at 17 Moore St.

“The number one ask of people is to have quiet space in the library,” Friedman said. “So we have a business center with computers and a door that closes.”

The new library will also have a children’s room with four separate sections and patio space. The children’s room in the current library was a closet, according to Friedman.

There will also be the addition of a staff office, which doesn’t exist in the current building.

The hope is that a new meeting space in the library, which will hold 65 people, would host meetings that could be recorded and broadcasted with the help of Montague Community Television, according to Friedman.

Friedman said one of her goals is to get the community involved as the work isn’t over just yet. Currently, there is a $50,000 gap for furniture and landscaping.

Erving Public Library fundraising is under way and is holding a sign-painting fundraiser at Scrafty Custom Signs in Athol on Friday, April 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. People have a choice of either, or multiple, a 12 by 12-inch sign or a 5.5-inch by 24-inch sign for $30.

There is also a gap in funding of about $350,000 for a solar array at the library, which Friedman said would need to be funded by the town. However, it is an expense that would pay for itself, according to Friedman.

The solar array will “keep the heat and electric bills with what we pay now, so it’ll be economical,” said Friedman.

Reach Melina Bourdeau at or 413-772-0261, ext. 263.

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