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Community Learning Center – Grant Project

Project Overview

The Town of Bristol has received a $1.8 million Grant from the United States Treasury’s Community Facilities Grant program by way of the Rhode Island Pandemic Recovery Office. The program distributed over $80 million dollars to over 25 of Rhode Island’s Cities and Towns, and is aimed at helping those communities build and improve community centers with a focus on three areas: Work, Education, and Health Monitoring. The Town of Bristol, after looking at a variety of options, has decided to invest these funds into the Rogers Free Library to make a number of improvements, from behind the scenes repairs to the Library’s systems to public facing improvements like new equipment, work/study spaces, and even a “maker space” for public use.

One of the most important parts of this grant is Public Input – what do you, the users of the library and the Citizens of Bristol, want to see from this project?

Let’s Hear from You!

  • We can only use this funding for “Capital Expenses” – which means construction or furnishing. We cannot use funding for programming – but the improvements we make will ensure less of the Library Budget is spent on repairs, freeing it up for programs!
  • We need to have all construction complete by October 31, 2026.
  • The goal of the improvements should be to support programming in Work, Education, and Health Monitoring, specifically addressing issues either created or exacerbated by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

We will be present at the Bristol Fourth of July Concert Series on July 1st with opportunities to fill this survey out in-person.

If you have thoughts about this project,
please contact Nicholas Toth with the Department of Community Development
send an email to [email protected]
or call (401) 253-7000 ext. 153.

If you prefer, a letter can also be sent to:
Bristol Department of Community Development
10 Court Street
Bristol, RI 02809

Major Proposed Improvements

The flagship project of this renovation, the Maker Space will be dedicated workshop and classroom space for the public, either independently or in groups, will be able to work on projects of their choosing, with a variety of equipment and storage space allowing multiple users to take advantage of the space. Projects could be anything from quilting to robotics – whatever the users want! We will be taking input from the public for equipment to use in this space over the next few years as construction continues. Basic amenities will include seating, tables, eye wash/sink space, ample cabinet space, and ventilation.

  • Architect rendering of what the Maker Space might look like after the construction is completed. It is labeled "Maker Space North View - Design Option"
  • Architect rendering of what the Maker Space might look like after the construction is completed. It is labeled "Maker Space South View - Design Option"

Between 2 and 3 small private study rooms are being designed for the Mezzanine area of the old building, along with other improvements and repairs to re-open the upper Mezzanine of the old Rogers Library Building. Currently, this space is unused. We are looking to place study areas in this space due to Americans with Disability Act (ADA) requirements, which states that services that already exist in accessible areas may be duplicated in non-accessible areas.

Photograph of the mezzanine as it looks like currentlyArchitect rendering of what the study rooms in the mezzanine might look like after the construction is completed.

The RFL currently has 2 HVAC systems operating, both over 15 years old and needing constant repairs. A new, more efficient HVAC system will allow the library to spend less on heating, A/C, and repairs and more on programming.

Libraries need plenty of storage – and to ensure that the limited space in the RFL is being utilized efficiently, we will be spending some funding installing additional storage.

As part of this project, we will be reviewing the electrical systems, the internet accessibility, and the security systems at the RFL. Such improvements could include better more efficient lights and controls, better wi-fi coverage and access points, security cameras and card swipe locks for staff areas, and other improvements that while not out front in the open, will improve Library Operations.

The Herreshoff Community Room, located on the ground floor of the New portion of the Library, is a popular space for community events and has been outfitted with technology to allow for group teleconferencing and remote presentations. Under the proposed grant, further improvements would be made.

Computers are constantly improving – this grant would allow the Library to obtain new, powerful desktops, laptops, and office equipment for public use.

As new spaces are refurbished or constructed, we will need furniture and furnishings. In addition, as with any public space, the furniture in the library is used heavily. New furniture may be purchased for the library as a whole to help ensure that it is kept up to date and reflects the way in which the community utilizes it.

Extensive equipment will be needed for the Maker Space – and this is one of the areas we are especially interested in public input! We will be working with the community to see what they will want to use the maker space for and tailor equipment purchases to those wants and needs.

The Rogers Free Library is like any building – it needs to be maintained and looked after. Especially in the original portion of the building, time takes its toll. Under this grant, general repairs will be made to the Library, from better windows to leak repairs.

Past Public Input

On May 13, 2024 we held our first public input session, asking a few of the following questions:

  • What is your favorite space in the library?
  • Which spaces do you currently utilize at the library? And for what purpose? (programs, meetings, knitting, studying, work…)
  • Are you usually alone or in a group? (what size group)
  • Do you use technology provided by the library (projector, chargers, DVD player, laptop)
  • What additional technology/materials do you think the library should offer?
  • Have you attended programs? What space were you in and what did you like about it? Dislike about it?
  • Have you hosted/attended meetings? What space were you in and what did you like about it? Dislike about it?
  • If you need a spot to read or study or concentrate, would you prefer a quiet study room or a cubicle, and why?
  • What is more important to you, privacy or quiet?

Project Timeline

YearQuarterPlanned Project ActivityMunicipal Projected MilestonesPro Expected Milestones
2024Jan – MarA/E Vendor Selection, Capital Needs Assessment and Begin DesignFeb 24 – Select A/E Firm
Mar 24 – Capital Needs Assessment, Initial Public Input
JAN – A&E Procurement Complete
Apr – JunComplete Preliminary Design and Public InputApril 24 – Public Design Input
May 24 – 10% Designs, Public Input
Jun 24 – 50% Designs
JUN – A&E: 50% Complete
Jul – SepRedesign with Public Input and FinalizeSept 24 – Full Scope of Work
Oct – DecFinal Designs Bid ProjectOct 24 – Redesign based on Public Review
Nov 24 – Finalized 100% Designs
Dec 24 – Bid Project
Nov – A&E: 100% Complete
2025Jan – MarAward ConstructionFeb 25 – Award Contract, Pre-Construction Conference
Mar 25 – Mobilization
FEB – Construction services procurement complete
Apr – JunConstructionJun 25 – 20% Construction CompleteAPR – Construction commenced
Jul – SepConstructionSept 25 – 40% Construction Complete
Oct – DecConstructionDec 25 – 60% Construction CompleteNOV – Construction 50% complete
2026Jan – MarConstructionMar 26 – 80% Construction Complete
Apr – JunComplete ConstructionJun 26 – Construction Complete
Jul – SepFinalize Punch ListJul 26 – Punch List Walkthrough, Final Work
Sept 26 – Ribbon Cutting, Programming Begins
SEP – Construction 95% complete
Oct – DecProgramming BeginsOct 26 – Final Reimbursement to PROOCT – Construction complete
DEC – Programs operational

Stay tuned for updates, public input sessions, and other information!