Foundation work begins for new Greenfield Public Library

  • The location of the new Greenfield Public Library that will be built in the front of the former fire station lot on Main Street. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • The location of the new Greenfield Public Library that will be built in the front of the former fire station lot on Main Street. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Workers mark out the area where the new Greenfield Public Library will be built in the front of the former fire station lot on Main Street on Friday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • A rendering of the future Greenfield Public Library, shown during a groundbreaking ceremony in July. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 12/3/2021 4:51:47 PM
Modified: 12/3/2021 4:51:14 PM

GREENFIELD — With the fire station demolition on Main Street likely to be completed during the next two weeks, contractors are beginning work on the new library’s foundation.

“Things are going well,” Architect Phillip O’Brien of Johnson Roberts Associates said at a Library Building Committee meeting Thursday evening. “They’ve started excavating for the footings, and we’re hoping to get footings and foundations in before it gets too cold.”

In 2019 — seven years after the vision for a new library was first discussed — Greenfield voters approved building a new Greenfield Public Library with a 61% positive vote. The $19.5 million appropriation accounts for construction costs as well the cost of the architect, project manager, furniture and fixtures, according to Library Building Committee Co-Chair Ed Berlin.

In addition to a $9.4 million grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC), the Greenfield Public Library Foundation has said it will contribute about $2 million, reducing the city’s cost to about $8.1 million.

Library Director Ellen Boyer said the city recently received its third installment of MBLC funding, with $1,875,000 received to date.

“We’ve not yet started using any city money,” she said.

In an update to the committee on Thursday, O’Brien said although there is a good estimate as far as the unsuitable soils that would be in the area, there’s a chance the number may be higher in some areas.

“That’s one of the reasons we have contingency,” he said. “We do as best we can, but we try not to over-exaggerate things when we put them in the documents, because the credits you get back are always harder. … Other than that, I’m glad to see we’re off and running now.”

Owner’s Project Manager Daniel Pallotta of P-Three Inc. in Norwell told the committee he’s not concerned, as a “hefty contingency” was included in the budget.

“I’m not too concerned it’s going to be a troublesome thing,” Pallotta said. “Contractually wise, we have plenty of money.”

He asked the committee for approval to award a $47,000 contract to Boston-based Jacob’s Engineering as the project’s commissioning agent.

Commissioning agents, which Pallotta explained are a requirement, work closely with lead contractors to ensure the construction project meets all operational requirements of the client.

P-Three received four quotes, he said, the lowest of which, Jacob’s Engineering, quoted $47,000 in a lump sum.

“They’re a national firm that does commissioning in construction throughout the United States,” Pallotta said.

Library Building Committee member Amy Moscaritolo asked if the commissioning agent would be with the city throughout the process.

“The commissioning agent stays through the job, all the way through post-occupancy,” Pallotta said. “Most importantly … what P-Three misses, what Phil O’Brien misses, what the engineers miss, they’ll catch and … determine the design is working exactly as designed.”

As only $50,000 was allocated for “testing and commissioning,” Pallotta also requested the committee approve transferring $40,000 to the testing and commissioning account from the $1.8 million contingency budget.

Both motions passed unanimously.

Before the meeting adjourned, O’Brien said architects will likely be ready soon to meet with the color and furnishings work group.

“As part of that, we’ll probably make some additional suggestions on some of the colors for the exterior, and we’ll start working on the interior as well,” he said. “We’re trying to do our best to help these guys out and get this stuff ordered, instead of kicking the can down the road. … At least we can put together a pallet that makes sense.”

Pallotta added that P-Three has created a project website that will include meeting links and meeting minutes.

“It should be up and running around New Year’s Day,” he said.

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at or 413-930-4429.

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