CAPE ELIZABETH — After talking to residents, gathering feedback and adjusting the Thomas Memorial Library design plans, town councilors on Monday said they like the revised concept.

The new design was presented at a Town Council workshop. While councilors are not close to a final vote, they indicated their initial support for the new design.

Town Manager Mike McGovern said the design makes the library at 6 Scott Dyer Road look less like a strip mall and more like a modern, functional facility.

He said the proposal increases the overall library space to 23,000 square feet from its current 13,000 square feet by adding a second story that “significantly reduced the footprint” from the previous plan.

McGovern said the proposed cost has been reduced by about $1 million, bringing the estimate to about $8 million to $8.5 million.

The new design also creates more green space around the building, provides connections with the schools and has 50 parking spots.

McGovern said the entrance to the library is a split-level design, so people can go up to the adult, young adult and children’s areas, or downstairs to the Historical Society and meeting space. 

“We really want to be sure this entryway is very welcoming, well designed and well appointed, so that you’re not going into a wasteland,” he said. “We want it to be something that is nice and welcoming, that says you are in a library.”

All the key library functions would be on the upper level, with a coffee bar, circulation desk and reading areas, McGovern said. The lower level is where Friends of the Library can store books, and there is mechanical space, a kitchen, rest rooms and conference rooms.

The basement under the Pond Cove annex will be renovated, McGovern said, but to what degree the upstairs will be upgraded is more of a budget issue.

“We’ve really tried, in working with the architects, to get a lot of input over the last few months from a lot of different folks, and every time we look at it the staff thinks they are getting closer and closer to getting it right,” he said.

McGovern said the cost estimate is for on-site expenses, and does not include fundraising or library services during the time the library will have to close for construction.

He said construction is not expected to begin for at least three years. A feasibility group will report to the council in a few months with an estimate of how much money can be raised.

Councilor Jessica Sullivan said the new design concept has been reviewed and accepted by the Library Foundation, the library board of trustees and the library study oversight committee.

Councilors are expected to visit libraries in Freeport, York and Portsmouth to continue their research in January. 

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter: @amy_k_anderson.

Sidebar Elements

The new proposal for a renovated Thomas Memorial Library in Cape Elizabeth is to create a 23,000-square-foot, two-story, split-level building with ample green space and natural lighting.

The revised design plan for the Thomas Memorial Library at 6 Scott Dyer Road makes use of more green space and natural lighting. There are a lot of walkways and about 50 parking spaces.

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