A groundbreaking ceremony will be held this week for a new building that will serve as the new home of the Westfield Washington Public Library and the Westfield Washington Township Trustee.
The groundbreaking of the 55,000-square-foot building will be at 4 p.m. Nov. 17 at the southwest corner of Park and Poplar streets. The trustee’s office will be collecting new hats and gloves for those less fortunate in the community at the event.
“This new building will be a centerpiece in the heart of Westfield’s expanding downtown,” Library Director Sheryl Sollars said. “While our current buildings have served us well through the years, they don’t allow us room to grow and continue to meet the community’s burgeoning needs.”
The building will be two stories with two separate entrances – one for the library and one for the township offices. The new library will provide more parking, an expanded teen area, a massive community room and a coffee shop.
In addition, outdoor activity space will also be available on the 3.6-acre property, according to officials. The library will also feature a community room with capacity for up to 200 people, while a larger teen area will be available, along with study rooms.
“This is something we have been working toward and planning for nearly a decade, so we are beyond thrilled to see the start of construction,” said Danielle Carey Tolan, Westfield Washington Township trustee. “This partnership is an excellent example of efficiency in government by sharing construction costs, space, equipment, and staff while providing a new and expanded community asset.”
The library is covering its construction and land costs with a $16.7 million general obligation bond, while the township trustee’s portion of the project will not exceed $5.2 million, according to officials. The township’s portion will be funded through a build-operate-transfer contract, or BOT, which allows the project to be built without an impact to residents’ tax bills.
A BOT is a public-private partnership often used to fund infrastructure projects. The structure calls for a public entity to designate private firms to design, operate and maintain the facility for a certain period.
Construction on the building is expected to last approximately 12 to 18 months, according to officials.