Our new home
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU
Besides the main space (pictured below), we have some room to add services and / or features. To understand better the needs of our users (and potential users) we’re inviting you to tell us what you want to see for services in Rutland County. We are hosting a Zoom call to hear from you, on Wednesday, January 27, from 6:30 to 8 PM.
If you can’t make the call or prefer writing, please fill out the form below. We’re collecting all suggestions for public discussion!
Rutland Free Library checks out a new home
Rutland Free Library is happy to announce its intention to purchase the former College of St. Joseph administration building, including the Giorgetti Library, at 71 Clement Road in Rutland City. We plan to move from our current location to our new home in the next 12 months.
“We’re honored and excited to give the library a new home – so much time and care has gone into this decision,” said Sharon Courcelle, President of Rutland Free Library Board of Trustees. “This is an opportunity for Rutland Free Library and its patrons to thrive in a space designed for education, community, and service.”
The new home of the Library will offer the community:
- Easier access, including substantial off-street parking and accessible parking for people with disabilities;
- A brand-new, dedicated children’s area attached to the main library, with ADA compatible facilities and nursing area;
- More room for the collection;
- Ability to use the community campus for programs;
- Co-location with the City Recreation and Parks department;
- Main library space renovated in 2006 by CSJ at a cost of $1 million (study here);
- Savings to city taxpayers of hundreds of thousands of dollars;
- Partnership with Heartland Developments to offer Tuttle Hall Theater for free public use;
- A dedicated teen space;
- Classroom and boardroom spaces available for free use by the public;
- A dedicated local history / genealogy space;
- Modern, more secure library facilities.
Let us know what you need!
Are there any special features you want to see in your new public library? Let us know by filling out the form below.
Fulfilling our mission
The main library at CSJ is in fantastic shape. We have rough sketches for renovating the staff offices and public spaces surrounding the library itself. And by March we hope to have complete specifications to allow the design team to start on final plans. So from now until February, you have the chance to tell us what services you are lacking. How can we help you?
Our mission is: To bring people, information and ideas together to enrich lives and to build a vibrant, strong community
What do you see as critical to building that community? We will bring the best ideas we can manage (within budget / space restrictions) back to the public for further discussion in February. Then and only then, after the public comment period, will we draw up final plans. So let us know what you need and we’ll try to incorporate your ideas in our new home!
How did we get here?
The city-owned building at 10 Court St. began as a courthouse and post office. It needs extensive renovations to continue to provide library services. Over the past decade or more, a series of board committees and a range of architects, consultants, and contractors have looked at various systems and the building as a whole to find solutions.
In the course of preparing for those renovations, RFL solicited a scope of work including interior remodeling and repairs to the building’s mechanical systems and exterior. The estimate of those costs is just less than $1.5 million. In the course of performing due diligence before embarking on such an expensive project, the board identified the CSJ property as a viable option. A series of inspections and visits during the summer made it clear that the site is an ideal fit. It will allow Rutland Free Library to continue to expand on the high level of services and programs the public has come to expect. Now that we know it can work and will result in substantial taxpayer savings, we are bringing it to the public.
The Library is working with the owner, Heartland Developments, and NBF Architects to get the rest of the building up to the standard of the main library area. We expect planning and renovations to take several months following the public comment period, after which the Library is to move. We have begun planning to minimize any interruption in services around the move.
“One of the main areas of our work here in Rutland City and one of my priorities has been to make decisions and support changes looking to the future and setting ourselves up for success,” said Rutland Mayor David Allaire.
“The news that the Board of Trustees of the Rutland Free Library and its Director, Randal Smathers, have decided to pursue its move to the College of St. Joseph campus comes with mixed emotions. The library has been a fixture at its present location my entire life. We all love that building however, the building, as beautiful and historic as it is, needs a lot of work, and is not properly set-up for libraries of the 21st century.”
“This historic move will position the library for growth and success in the years to come, and save the City taxpayers in the short and long term,” said Allaire. “I look forward to the successful future of the Rutland Free Library.”
About St. Joseph’s Hall
The administration building at CSJ was originally built as St. Joseph’s Hall in the 1960s. It has been renovated twice, once adding a second story and once to create a centerpiece library out of the former gymnasium, in 2006. The library itself was the end result of a $1 million capital campaign. In 2016, the school received a $2.2 million grant to update the internet capability of the entire campus. It’s those renovations that make the move possible.
“Rutland paid for the renovations through its donations to the college, so we’re able to continue their work,” said Director Randal Smathers. “Building a new library from scratch would have been prohibitively expensive. Instead, we’re able to save hundreds of thousands of dollars over what it would cost to redesign the old Court Street building.”
Regarding 10 Court St.
“The old building served the community well, but it was originally built in 1858 and hasn’t had a major renovation since the 1980s,” said Smathers. “Demands for services have changed since then and continue to change, and that building is simply not designed to meet the needs of our users, now or into the foreseeable future. The new home of Rutland Free Library will allow us to meet the expanding needs of our community in the 21st century.”
The building at 10 Court St. is one of two like it in the state. The other is still owned by the US Postal Service in Windsor, and is in some disrepair. The library has been a tenant of Rutland City without a lease (or rent payment) since 1938. RFL has been a good steward of the building, investing some $250,000 in capital improvements in the past five years. The Library is proud to return the building to city taxpayers in good condition, even if it’s no longer suited for library service.
“We thank the city for its ongoing support of our work,” Smathers said, “But a library is not a building, it’s people: the people we serve, the staff, and our supporters. We look forward to continuing to serve the citizens of Rutland City, Rutland Town, Mendon, Tinmouth, and Ira in our new home.”
By the numbers:
- $11.4 million – cost of the “showpiece” renovation of 10 Court St., as proposed by an architect in 2013
- $6.5 million – minimum cost for a full renovation of 10 Court St. as a modern public library, as proposed by an architect in 2013
- $1.5 million – expected cost of a modest renovation and mechanical repair of 10 Court St., as designed by NBF Architects in 2019
- $1.2 million – expected cost to RFL of purchase and renovation of the community campus site
- $1 million – actual cost of renovations made to the CSJ space in 2006
- $808,000 – actual cost of borrowing $750,000 to repair 10 Court St., for 10 years at 1.5% interest
- $750,000 – expected amount of a city bond for repairs to 10 Court St.
- $750,000 – expected cost to RFL to make needed changes to allow continued library operation at 10 Court St., in addition to the bond
- $300,000 – direct savings in the overall cost of the project
- $0 — bonding or direct taxpayer support of the campus project
WCAX interview with Olivia Lyons and director Randal Smathers
Mountain Times article by Polly Mikula
VTDigger article by Emma Cotton
Public input meeting Zoom link
Topic: Let us hear from you
Time: Jan 27, 2021 06:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 949 8442 4080
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