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The Hotchkiss Library is likely to remain at the Herbert Klebes American Legion Hall until renovations of the library building are complete, possibly in January 2023. Photo by Cynthia Hochswender

Same story: Construction costs delay renovation at library

SHARON — With fundraising nearing the $3 million goal, anticipation is growing for residents who are awaiting the start of construction and interior restoration work at the historic Hotchkiss Library of Sharon, serving the community since 1893.

A well-attended groundbreaking ceremony on Aug. 7 celebrated a robust capital campaign that succeeded in raising $2.7 million toward a project that will handsomely expand the present building to provide access for handicapped patrons and restore and preserve the historic interior. The remaining $300,000 is earmarked for the library’s endowment.

Executive Director Gretchen Hachmeister provided an update on the construction schedule, issuing a statement on Wednesday, Dec. 22, detailing reasons for an apparent delay.

“The Hotchkiss Library of Sharon had originally hoped to begin restoration work on the existing library and the new addition this past September.

“However, as the start date approached, construction costs began to spike while the availability of materials shrank, and we were advised by our construction professionals that it would be prudent to reschedule the start of construction for the coming spring.

“This advice is also consistent with our continuing commitment to be good stewards of the funds our community is investing in the project,” Hachmeister said.

Hachmeister joined with Library Board President Tom Trowbridge in December to request funding from the boards of selectmen and finance. Both boards were persuaded to approve unanimously $50,000 in town support to help the library reach its goal.

The revised schedule calls for work to begin in March 2022 and to be completed nine months later, in January 2023, Hachmeister said.

“Fencing will be erected to surround the site in the spring when construction begins in earnest, but we hope that some interior restoration work could begin during the winter,” she said.

Widespread community support for this project continues. Residents who embrace the Hotchkiss Library of Sharon and its contributions to the community, are invited to contribute any amount to help to move the fundraising to its final goal in the coming weeks.

While awaiting the construction, the library is comfortably situated in temporary quarters at the American Legion Hall at 15 New St.

Information about the project and individual donation options can be found at the library or on the website at www.hotchkisslibrary.org.

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