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    EAST BRIDGEWATER

    Library expansion plan moves along

    After several years of planning, a proposed renovation and expansion of the East Bridgewater public library is picking up steam.

    In July, the state Board of Library Commissioners approved a $7.7 million grant for the estimated $17.8 million project. The town is currently eighth on a waiting list to receive its grant once the state funds are available, according to Virginia Johnson, East Bridgewater’s library director.

    She said the town is hopeful the state money will become available next July. If that occurs, voters in October 2018 would be asked to appropriate the town’s share of the project at a special Town Meeting, and to approve a debt exclusion, or temporary tax increase, to fund those costs, at a special election later that month.

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    The state grant would be increased by $192,769 if the town includes green energy features in the project, which would leave the town’s overall share at about $9.9 million.

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    Johnson said the existing library, which includes an original 1896 building and a 1978 addition, is too small to meet the library’s modern needs. It also lacks sprinklers and its lighting, electrical, and HVAC systems are all outmoded.

    The project calls for major renovations to the old building and replacement of the existing 8,600-square-foot addition with a new 17,600-square-foot addition.

    “We are excited to be moving forward with this,” Johnson said.

    To educate voters about the project, the library held two public information forums this month and plans additional ones next February and May.

    John Laidler can be reached at john.laidler@globe.com.