Sawyer Free 2025 Public Library: Subsequent Redesign plans, Annual Meeting 2022 – Oudens EllO with Dore + Whittier updates and questions #GloucesterMA

November 16, 2022

Recap and scenes from the Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Public Library 2022 Annual meeting, including views of the most recent revised concept proposal for the renovation and addition intended for the library as they appeared in the feature presentation (Oudens & Ello Architects with Dore + Whittier Architects) Sawyer Free 2025

Mern Sibley, Pres. of the Library Board, greeted the crowd and emceed. Jill Cahill thanked everyone and announced that she was there on behalf of the Mayor who was unable to attend as he was at the SFL Medal Awards. (And Jenny Benedict, Library Director, was here at the SFL Annual Meeting, unable to attend the SFL Medal Awards at GHS. Ditto some corporators, perhaps.) The City and Gloucester School District are working closely together, and thrilled to be partnering. In speaking with the Mayor about what message he hoped to convey, Cahill said their moving conversation spilled over among the City Hall Administration staff and easily turned to reminiscences about how the library impacted their lives. A musician himself and music fan, Mayor Verga told them as a boy he loved checking out the CDs and CD player. Cahill shared how first public outings for her mom, wheelchair bound after a health spell, were easy at the library precisely because everyone there was so friendly, and the library was so accessible.

Benedict stressed how instrumental the library was in bringing the community back together after Covid closures and how that was reflected in the robust attendance and programs. Attendance numbers included school visits, too. She concluded with a big note of gratitude for the 16 staff “library champions” which received the biggest clap of the night.

Latest Plans – Oudens & Ello Architects with Dore + Whittier Architects

With a nod to prior remarks, Matt Oudens began by saying thanks and that he “was happy to be reminded of going from libraries of things to libraries that DO.”

Thankfully Gloucester’s library can boast both/and since its inception.

He began by showing the library as it stands now.

“We’ve always noticed how difficult it is to enter the building — the renovation of Saunders is its own project– and the difficult wayfinding problem.”

Since the last time he presented, a construction manager was engaged who recommended modifying the plans (along the side of the Monell building parallel to Middle Street). The “sliver” on that side would be too expensive to build. Instead a “glass “gasket” between the Monell shell and the new addition is planned that will be more economical and a clear signal of where to circulate in & up” the library building(s).

Old concept plan Left | Revised concept plan as of 11/16/2022 Right (note angled “gasket”)

LOWER LEVEL

A lower lobby on the Lower Level was expanded. More bathrooms were added. This wing will be available off hours and can be open on its own, separate from the main building. The meeting space on the lower level will open to the outside, to use the outdoor space that runs along the length between the library and Central Grammar (as the children’s library had). *maybe longer then now

DALE AVENUE LEVEL

All adult collection here. The newspaper periodical reading lobby will be open (high ceiling by soaring windows overlooking Rando Memorial gardens and amphitheater). The 1913 pass through stacks (between the Monell and Saunders) is now the Gallery and Cafe area. A gently sloped sidewalk will allow for greater accessibility at this entrance.

TOP FLOOR

Children’s services spaces. Teen spaces.

DESIGN

“Overall, much more light will transform the library into a nice place to be.”

Much of the exterior is being preserved. Oudens was excited that they’ll be removing the HVAC down to floor and increasing glazing by 25%. All the energy upgrades are important to him*. The light colored brick selected for the new addition will match the painted brick of the Monell. (The community pressed for green consideration all along. As of Feb. 2019 the design team emphasized that scope.)

photo block below: Before / After pairings followed by more views of current built environment and questions

TEMPORARY LOCATION ON MAIN STREET IS OPEN

“You can do any and all library things that you do here (at the Dale Ave. location) at the temporary location on Main Street. Go! Please check it out!”

Now thru 2025. The temporary library address is 21 Main Street–above Mystery Train; next to Virgilio’s; across from Tonno, Short & Main, and Caffe Sicilia; down the street from The Bookstore of Gloucester, Pop Gallery, and the Isabel Babson library. Look for “SFL@21Main” for events off site, too!

Questions Asked FROM THE FLOOR

Questions and comments from the audience– followed the budget and architectural plan agenda items:

Question. What is the (financial) arrangement with the city? How does the money/financing work with the city? Joe Grella, Board member, explained first that the Annual Meeting budget report is for the year prior to the year the meeting is taking place. Then he presented the budget. The endowment is below 5 mil and will deplete more. These reserves will need to be built back up at a future date. The questions about the financial arrangement followed his budget report. He explained the debt. (One million had been appropriated for the fundraising/fee.)

Q. What about the fundraising? What happens if it’s not raised? A. Mern Sibley said that’s a perfect segue to introducing John Brennan for the fundraising report. “The City voting to fund the loan for the new building was a game changer,” and they’ve raised 52% of the goal. He appealed for a benefactor like philanthropists over a century ago: “Seeking the Next Samuel Sawyer. The Next Addison…We need to still find donors that will propel the project…(Since ca. 2018) it was a small group of me, Fred, Deb (Lib. Dir. summer 2015-summer 2020), others and NOW with the city’s momentum, we’re picking up speed (fundraising). [Hence another Sawyer Library Foundation and Sawyer Free 2025 Capital campaign.] A postcard was sent to every household in Gloucester…” He credited an audience member with the phrase, “We’re just jazzed.” And thanked the donors: Inst. Savings, Bank Glou, Sudbay, Gorton’s, etc.

Q. This has been mentioned before, but how will children’s services work for programs on the top floor with one elevator? A. Oudens said it has worked at other buildings he’s completed. The elevator will be bigger than the one that’s there now.

Q. Have there been more thought to swapping (floors) / amending designs? A. The distribution hasn’t changed.

Q. Is the atrium height filled in? Yes. The ceiling will be the floor of the top level. (On this floor, height will be opened up above the new Newspapers and Periodical Reading area which is overlooking Rando Memorial )

Q. What is the cafe? A. Oudens repeated the potential location (former stacks connector) and how they’ve worked at other libraries. He replied that that’s undecided.

Q. The new “stacks” space is windows. Where will the art hang (auction and exhibits)? Where are the walls? (several audience members) Oudens suggested free standing display panels, etc., and to check out the space following the meeting to see the general idea of the footprint there and confirm window count.

Q. Has there been consideration of repurposing and/or revising as much as possible of the extant building existing elements? A. Oudens said there’s not a lot to save, mostly because of code compliance reasons. There will be many upgrades. “The plans (now) maintain the exterior. Hopefully the inside will have enough of a refreshed feeling of Monell.”

Q. Where are the bathrooms? A. The plans show more bathrooms than what’s here now, and on each and every level. Oudens mentioned 4 or 5 bathrooms on the School Street | back of the building level, dictated/guided by the size of the meeting room, which is capacity 100. (I believe there were 2 restrooms for women, 1 men, and one all. Maybe they can all be all gender bathrooms, like planes.) *Not sure if they are all accessible

More questions.

I also wonder about the Matz gallery space, and how to add more gallery space. Also, where are the designated special built sites for major works in the collection (removed–on loan to Cape Ann Museum and storage/Trust). I was asked if the bathrooms can be reconfigured or the stairwell so that there are more elevators if the traffic flow isn’t flipped? Is there ample space for archives and research? Do the plans emphasize or miss a strategy and monies spent for digitization of the enviable archives, accessibility for all? Are there too many meeting spaces especially with other options close by (City Hall, Temple, UU Church, CAM, sites on Main Street, and more)? A cafe option split audience reaction, and prompted great chatter of “I’d love that!” and “No way!” One board member repeated how much he loved the Wenham Library more than this building. In the rendering showing a viewshed from Dale Avenue/City Hall to SFL, is the new addition blocking the view of the UU Church? Feedback over the years asked about the corridor between Central Grammar and the library and views showcasing City Hall.

The history of SFL’s extant buildings and archives (of historical and cultural, local and national significance) are the envy of libraries along the North Shore and –with the City’s, CAM’s –such assets are up there with Boston’s Public Library and major university repositories.

I believe that the custodian services are borne by the City. When the library is open for special events beyond operating hours a custodian is responsible for closing, if not the event breakdown itself. How will this impact the budget for the library and the city?

Beautiful and delicious spread by Willow Rest

Links:

  • Ethan Forman wrote about the 2022 Annual meeting here: Architect shares new design of Sawyer Free library addition. Gloucester Daily Times
  • Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Annual Report – will add link or PDF
  • Annual meeting 2021 minutes – will add link or PDF
  • Former presentation roundup here
  • Light corporator attendance. A few board changes plus new corporators .

photo: Party favors – used SFL book ends

Motif Monday: 3 Long Beach cottages off season construction

Side by side photographs: BEFORE (April 2017) / DURING CONSTRUCTION on the 8s (October 2019)  Stay tuned for After.

88 Long Beach

temporary barrier at 88 Long Beach front row cottage property_ former structure cleared_October 7 2019 photograph©c ryan

68 Long Beach

Behind 28 Long Beach

construction behind 28 Long Beach front row cottage_Oct 2019 photograph©c ryan

 

 

College students just want normal libraries Atlantic Magazine | Beautiful books and nooks

 

 

just a few photos of many beautiful libraries in Massachusetts (Boston, Gloucester, Quincy, Beverly, Middleton)

As do towns! The proposed new building (Dore & Whittier/Matt Oudens) related to the Sawyer Free Library is landing at the tail end of the visioning trend called out in this  Atlantic article by Alia Wong:

“College Students Just Want Normal Libraries: Schools have been on a mission to reinvent campus libraries‚ÄĒeven though students just want the basics.”¬†

excerpts:

Likely in the hopes of proving that they have more to offer than a simple internet connection does, many college libraries are pouring resources into¬†interior-design updates¬†and¬†building renovations, or into ‚Äúglitzy technology,‚ÄĚ such as¬†3-D printers¬†and¬†green screens, that is¬†often¬†housed¬†in ‚Äúmedia centers‚ÄĚ or ‚Äúmakerspaces.‚ÄĚ

“Yet much of the glitz may be just that‚ÄĒglitz. Survey data and experts suggest that students generally¬†appreciate libraries most¬†for their¬†simple, traditional offerings: a quiet place to study or collaborate on a group project, the ability to print research papers, and access to books.”

So-called¬†digital natives still¬†crave¬†opportunities¬†to use¬†libraries as libraries, and many¬†actively seek out physical¬†texts‚ÄĒ92 percent of the college students surveyed in¬†a 2015 study, for example, said they preferred paper books to electronic versions. (Plus, a¬†growing body of evidence¬†shows that physical books and papers are more conducive to learning than digital formats are.) The¬†dean of learning and technology resources¬†at one of the¬†six campuses¬†of Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) recently told me about a student he had met: Upon learning that her campus library had only the e-book version of a text she needed to read, the woman opted to make the trek to another campus a nearly half-hour commute away that had the hard copy. A 2016¬†survey¬†of students at¬†¬†Webster University in Washington, D.C., also illustrates limited use of digital resources, finding that just 18 percent of students accessed e-books ‚Äúfrequently‚ÄĚ or ‚Äúvery frequently,‚ÄĚ compared with 42 percent who never used them.

“Duke University‚Äôs 2016 survey of its students drew similar conclusions,¬†finding¬†that book delivery was one of the most important services to students; fancy library services such as instant messaging or data-visualization help fell much lower on students‚Äô priority lists.¬†A separate, years-long project¬†on community-college students by the NOVA dean and a team of researchers found that respondents ‚Äúmost often view the library as the service provider they would likely go to‚ÄĚ for an array of bread-and-butter needs, such as help gathering research for a paper, registering for classes, or applying for financial aid. Demand for access to devices such as 3-D printers and virtual-reality headsets was relatively low; respondents tended to highlight the need for reliable Wi-Fi instead.

“Many college libraries are reinventing themselves, but perhaps they‚Äôre trying to fix an institution that isn‚Äôt, in fact, broken…”

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2019/10/college-students-dont-want-fancy-libraries/599455/

Rockport Library has dedicated quiet conversation and reading spaces as do Beverly, Quincy and Boston.

Public Hearing – East Gloucester new school Building Committee Monday 9/9/19 at 6 pm City Hall

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Save the date

East Gloucester Building Committee Public Hearing agenda:  Public Hearing East Gloucester Building committee Agenda 9_9_19

Save the date

Ward  1 public meeting September 30th at Gloucester Stage 630pm

 

REMINDER tonight 6pm City Hall meeting about school plans for East Gloucester and Veterans Memorial Gloucester, MA

TONIGHT June 17, 2019 Ward 1 City Councilor Scott Memhard will host another Ward 1 Community Meeting and update on the East Gloucester Elementary School building project from 6 to 8 p.m., at Gloucester City Hall’s Kyrouz Auditorium.

The agenda will include a presentation and Q&A with members of the Gloucester School Committee, the EGS School Building Committee, and our EGS designer/project manager Dore & Whittier Architects. Time allowing, any other community concerns or matters of Ward 1 interest may also be raised & discussed.

Catch up on plans (with building committee’s link added today to last week’s June 13 presentation- note Green Street changes)

Dore & Whittier presented options for new elementary schools (specifically related to consolidation of East Gloucester and Veterans Memorial Schools or just East Gloucester) to the EGS Building Committee Thursday, June 13th at 5 pm.  This meeting was not a public forum. However, all present reiterated that questions and concerns are most welcome at the Ward 1 Community Meeting June 17, 2019 at City Hall (details below).

Potential options for three sites were color coded for review

  • YELLOW for East Gloucester School Site
  • BLUE for Veterans Memorial School Site
  • GREEN for Schoolhouse Road Site formerly labeled “Green Street” site

Continue reading “REMINDER tonight 6pm City Hall meeting about school plans for East Gloucester and Veterans Memorial Gloucester, MA”

New school plans Dore & Whittier site options for East Gloucester and Veterans Memorial Gloucester, MA

Dore & Whittier presented options for new elementary schools (specifically related to consolidation of East Gloucester and Veterans Memorial Schools or just East Gloucester) to the EGS Building Committee Thursday, June 13th at 5 pm.  This meeting was not a public forum. However, all present reiterated that questions and concerns are most welcome at the Ward 1 Community Meeting June 17, 2019 at City Hall (details below).

Potential options for three sites were color coded for review

  • YELLOW for East Gloucester School Site
  • BLUE for Veterans Memorial School Site
  • GREEN for Schoolhouse Road Site formerly labeled “Green Street” site

School Committee Chairman John Pope and Brad Dore of Dore & Whittier stressed that none of these plans are final. “It’s a long process. MSBA requires options. So these 14 options will be whittled down to 8 options that must go foward. Hopefully by next April, after due diligence and consideration, we’ll move forward to the next phase.” Costs are not factored for any of these options at this point in this process so as to base school design on best fit learning requirement rather than price (see “Matrix” slide). Sub committee will vote on the criteria (see “schedule” slide). Dore & Whittier consulting related to this phase is about $70,000. “These options are diagrammatic. None prove that they can be successful or can move ahead, only that they go to the next level of review. They are just a level of screening. The process is iterative.”

For all three sites, plans focused on parking for staff and visitors without addressing neighborhood traffic impact. All proposals tried to take into account access to community spaces (ie. gym and media center) after hours, parent pick up/drop off, and separation of outdoor space and service access. MSBA guidelines suggest 80 parking spaces per 220 students and 117 per 440 students. “Typically these projects find relief granted for parking and zoning,” said Dore. While new schools are built, students will need to be relocated. Chairman Pope said they’d need to press city on options.

A round up of Pros and Cons related to the recent West Parish construction and its use and operating costs since being built might be helpful. Some West Parish feedback that made the news ranged from small inconveniences (no dishwasher) to larger concerns about design (despite ample site the gymnasium was not designed with enough space for spectators, the design of the parking lot did not take into account ease in snowplowing and numerous vehicular/traffic snafus).  There was no discussion about these proposals within a broader context of all the school properties, all the elementary schools, merging with Rockport, what happens with development of the older sites if Schoolhouse Road option is undertaken, etc.

2 POTENTIAL SITES COLOR CODE _Dore Whittier new school sites and plans presented to School Committee building committee_Gloucester MA_20190613_© cryan

TIMELINE

targeting July 18th for cost reveals

28 TIMELINE Dore and Whittier new school sites and plans presented to School Committee building committee_Gloucester MA_20190613_© cryan (28)

 

 

 

 

 

1)East Gloucester Elementary School Site- 5 options both single school and consolidation

Dore & Whittier ascertained that the school’s field is deeded and there’s no option of building out into that green space. It’s already off to a poor start as “the site is reduced by 2.5 acres.” [See 2016 EGS school consolidiation meeting– we already knew this. Ditto consideration of Espresso’s lot, now sold but was available.] Based on their commentary narration, Dore & Whittier does not seem in favor of this option:

  • “A two story option would have structural problems to consider and cons such as creating darker classrooms on the ground floor.”
  • “It would exceed setback lines.” “Extra permitting”
  • “Storm Water management is difficult.”
  • “Topography is difficult. All rock!”
  • There are just so many noted deficiencies. “Generally compressing into a small site means a LOT more money.”
  • Option B3 Problem as no separation of Delivery and Playtime; stressed again how difficult it is to build two stories. “Will this even get through the fire department even with so many difficult permitting issues? The plans push against lot line and trucks may not get back there.” [ed. so why is this presented as an option?]
  • Option C1 430 students is a 3 story option “will recreate parking on street basically the same as now but worse.”
  • Option D NEW School pushes building back, room for 56 parking spots
    • D1 2 story
    • E1 440 students 3 story options
    • E2 crossing property line either by right or by purchase. Brad Dore explained that decisions of that sort happen at the state level. (I think he meant long/difficult route.)
  • One question from the audience went unanswered and encouraged to attend Ward 1 meeting: “Has neighborhood high impact and infrastructure concerns been considered (water/sewer presumably affected with increase to 440 students)?”

 

 

 

2)Veterans Memorial site- 2 options

Plans here were also categorized as failing. “No doubt there are lots of challenges for this one.” Brad Dore said. “Plans here are tortured.”

  • F1 440 students with 80 parking spaces preserving ball field
  • F2 on the ball field

 

 

 

3)Schoolhouse Road / formerly Green Street Site – 2 options

  • 3 story, 440 students

 

 

 

On Monday, June 17, 2019 Ward 1 City Councilor Scott Memhard will host another Ward 1 Community Meeting and update on the East Gloucester Elementary School building project from 6 to 8 p.m., at Gloucester City Hall’s Kyrouz Auditorium.

The agenda will include a presentation and Q&A with members of the Gloucester School Committee, the EGS School Building Committee, and our EGS designer/project manager Dore & Whittier Architects. Time allowing, any other community concerns or matters of Ward 1 interest may also be raised & discussed.

1 Dore and Whittier new school sites and plans presented to School Committee building committee_Gloucester MA_20190613_© cryan
photo: Residents observe architect proposals for new school plans Gloucester MA June 13 2019 (questions and concerns can be brought to public forum this was just a presentation by Dore & Whittier of current iterations for proposed new school building plans to the School Building Committee)

sampling of documents to bring one up to speed:

January 2015 joint City Council/School Committee meeting; presentation by Dore & Whittier HERE

Option A Maintain all four buildings as they are with same number of classes
per grade
Option B Make additions and renovations at all four schools
Option C Remove Plum Cove or Veterans and make additions and renovations
at other three (2-3 classes per grade)
Option D Remove Plum Cove and Veterans and make addition at Beeman (4
classes per grade), with 3 classes per grade at East Gloucester

September 14, 2016 GMG post school consolidation meeting  at West Parish HERE

September 27, 2016, GMG post, Ward 1 Community Discussion about new elementary schools at East Gloucester Elementary School HERE

In February 2017, the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), a state agency, moved the Gloucester school consolidation proposal further along in its funding process. The MSBA cost page is here where you will find information and data about schools built either a)2008-2013  or b) 2014-current.  West Parish is in there. (List of MSBA projects completed for Gloucester) MSBA splits out designer and project management phases from the final build which means you have to go back and forth between documents. Expected life span for new buildings is 40 years.

October 2017 City Begins Quest for new Merged School: Search on for funding for East Gloucester-Veterans study, Gloucester Daily Times article by Ray Lamont HERE

October 2018 GMG post MSBA school committee school consolidation update HERE 

Spring 2019, School building committee website set up spring 2019 https://eastgloucesterbuildingproject.weebly.com.

 

Notre Dame is burning – engulfed

 

John Taylor Arms etching and aquatint on cream laid paper 1925.jpg
John Taylor Arms Notre Dame 1925 etching and aquatint on cream laid paper

John Taylor Armsthe Gargoyle and His quarry, Notre Dame 1920 etching
John Taylor Arms the Gargoyle and His Quarry, Notre Dame

Long Beach MA: winter construction on front row cottages

Progress on some winter builds.

Crane at 142 Long Beach, front row cottage under construction, Jan 2018

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BEFORE 142 Long Beach April 2017

 

4 Long Beach under reno, January 2018

 

BEFORE 4 Long Beach April 2017

Behind Longbeach Place

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At the back of Longbeach Place; and in the distance at the corner of Long Beach Road and Rockport Road

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Upcycled pallets vs international playground design: one dad’s inspiring backyard ninja course, Stage Fort, and BSA Extraordinary Play

power-of-play

“And on to the zip line. Once again, she has a lot of stuffed animal friends to cheer her on the course today…one-handed over the water bottles, and she makes it no problem…” (the father’s sweet narration)

The inspiring viral video of one dad’s DIY backyard obstacle¬†course for his daughter could easily have been featured¬†in Design Museum Boston‘s ¬†excellent¬†Extraordinary Play exhibition which was held at the BSA space, Boston Society of Architecture. ¬†Extraordinary Play featured the best international public playground design, mostly big budget projects.¬†Based on the posters, my sons and an older cousin thought the sky playground in City Museum, St. Louis, the Blaxland Riverside Park in Homebush Bay Australia, and¬†the¬†Globe Dokk1 Aarhaus in Denmark look amazing!

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We’d visit any of the BSA notable¬†playgrounds in a heartbeat if we traveled¬†nearby:¬†Geopark Stavangar, Norway; Adventure Playground, Berkeley; Parque Gulliver, Valencia, Spain; The Globe Dokk1, Aarhaus, Denmark; Maggie Daley Park, Chicago; and Brooklyn Bridge Park, NY. (Scroll below to see those posters.)

Gloucester is lucky to have several good playgrounds. My children loved the gigantic truck, pirate ship and lighthouse at Stage Fort, plus so many paths, boulders and expansive fields and vistas. (I don’t think the sea serpent was there when they were little. We hope they might come back to supplement the excellent swings and climbing structure)

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The BSA Space is just across the bridge from the Boston Children’s Museum and alongside the Greenway. The exhibitions are free.

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A tip for visitors coming to Massachusetts for the first time is to stop by the BSA lobby to check out the model of the city.

Go before the Freedom Trail! Very helpful- reminded me of the old display at Gettysburg.

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Continue reading “Upcycled pallets vs international playground design: one dad’s inspiring backyard ninja course, Stage Fort, and BSA Extraordinary Play”

Gloucester At Dawn, Corner Of Middle and Pleasant Street

I wonder what the economic climate was like when this building was built.¬†¬† Buildings like this just aren’t constructed regularly in our day, I guess because it is cost prohibitive.¬† Do you think it came down to economics or just a sense of pride when the people who built this building designed and had it built?