Richard and Helen Carroll place their ballots in the box while voting at the Bellows Falls Masonic Center, Tuesday. (Zachary P. Stephens)
Richard and Helen Carroll place their ballots in the box while voting at the Bellows Falls Masonic Center, Tuesday. (Zachary P. Stephens)
Wednesday May 18, 2011

ROCKINGHAM -- While the Rockingham School Board needed two votes to get its bond vote passed, the Rockingham Free Public Library Trustees had its project approved the first time around.

Rockingham residents approved a $2.95 million renovation of the library by a 688-509 vote, at a special election held Tuesday.

The library trustees have been working on the proposed project for more than two years, and they decided to hold the vote in May so it did not conflict with the school project vote, which was originally held in March.

But after the school vote failed by four votes and the re-vote was requested, both projects came before the voters on the same day.

Rockingham Free Public Library (Zachary P. Stephens/Reformer)
Rockingham Free Public Library (Zachary P. Stephens/Reformer)
Library officials were concerned that in the current economy it would be hard to pass both projects.

On Tuesday, Rockingham voters approved both the library project, and a $10.5 million renovation to the Bellows Falls Middle School.

Library Renovation Committee member Pat Fowler said the library trustees are now going to have to figure out how to serve the library patrons while the project is under way.

Fowler said the trustees are working with the town to try to find a space where they can set up public computers and possibly a small selection of books while crews are working on the library.

The project will go quicker, and it will be more cost-effective, if workers can complete the project without people in the library.

Fowler said it will probably take three of four months for crews to complete the work in the public areas of the library.

The $2.95 million library project will be used to completely upgrade the existing internal systems as well as make the third accessible with a new library.

The money will also pay for new solar panels on the roof and will improve insulation throughout the building.

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at 802-254-2311 ext. 279 or at hwtisman@reformer.com.