FALMOUTH — The Planning Board Tuesday approved an amended site plan for the expansion of Falmouth Memorial Library, which faces an imminent deadline to raise $500,000 in funding for the project.

The library’s updated plan includes fewer parking spots and narrower sidewalks and walkways, which will reduce the 5 Lunt Road property’s impervious surface and, most importantly, the cost of construction.

“Every square foot (of pavement) counts,” said civil engineer Will Haskell of Gorrill Palmer, the firm hired by the library to oversee the overall site design. He said the purpose was to save money on a stormwater management system that must be installed.

Scott Simons, the project architect, also told the board he had made several changes to the building design to “simplify the structure.”

“(We) sacrificed some nice visual impacts to get in line with the budget,” Simons said.

However, he also said he was able to keep some “key components and efficiencies” that “greatly enhance” various aspects of library programming.

Five years ago voters agreed to pay half the cost of a new $5.6 million library, if the organization could raise the other half. But last summer library leaders learned they would need at least $1 million more due to higher-than-expected construction costs.

Last November, voters supported another library bond and agreed to borrow $500,000 more if the library could raise the other half of the additional amount required to enlarge the library to 18,000 square feet.

Since then the library has been conducting additional fundraising. As of this week it has raised more than $275,000, or just over half of its goal, according to Steven Knapp, president of the library board.

The official deadline for raising the funds is Jan. 12, but Knapp said the library will accept pledges and donations through Jan. 31.

While the library doesn’t yet have its full funding, Knapp said the amended site plan approval was needed “in order (for us) to be able to go out to bid and to keep the project on an optimum time line and to maximize cost efficiencies.”

“We’ve never been closer to a new library than we are today,” he said.

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 780-9097 or [email protected]. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KIrishCollins.

Falmouth Memorial Library has three weeks to raise the $500,000 it still needs to launch a $6.6 million expansion project.

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