I am responding to Dr. Lawrence Leonard’s recent letter concerning Falmouth Memorial Library’s proposed expansion.

The architects who completed a preliminary expansion design estimated the new construction costs for a high-performance building at $290 per square foot. That amount includes costs associated with site work and construction of sidewalks and parking lots. The architects projected that, despite the increase in the library’s size, energy costs would remain the same or potentially be reduced, resulting in cost savings over time.

Dr. Leonard noted that he found estimates on a Reed Construction Data website for library construction costs in the Portland area between $140 and $154 per square foot. Those figures do not include the site work and hardscaping costs that are incorporated into the library’s estimate. Also, the website states that the lower construction costs are based on the assumption that the building would be constructed with a concrete block structure without any basement.

A concrete block structure would not result in the energy savings over time that is an important element of the library’s conceptual design. And the lack of a basement, with the omission of the associated excavation costs, likely accounts for much of the difference between the two sets of numbers. Building an addition without a basement is not practical, as the basement will provide storage areas that the library now lacks, due to the routine flooding of the library’s existing basement.

We encourage anyone with additional questions about the proposed expansion to contact the library.

Mark Porada, president
Falmouth Memorial Library