No action taken at library trustees' meeting

Tuesday March 19, 2013

BELLOWS FALLS -- No action was taken at Monday's Rockingham Free Public Library Board of Trustees meeting, which was spent mostly in executive session.

Municipal Manager Tim Cullenen and the Rockingham Selectboard were invited to the meeting held at the library and Cullenen gave the Reformer an overview of the building's renovation project.

Baybutt Construction Corp., a Keene, N.H-based company, had been hired as the general contractor for the $2.9 million renovation. But the project hit a snag months ago, when subcontractors refused to continue their jobs and insisted Baybutt had not paid them for the work already done. Rockingham town officials terminated a contract with Baybutt when the corporation's financial woes came to light.

Baybutt Construction did not take out a performance or a payment bond, which acts as a sort of insurance contract and was a project requirement from the town. The company's owner, Frederick L. Baybutt, declared personal bankruptcy in February.

Cullenen told the Reformer town attorney Stephen Ankuda is continuing his discussions with the lawyers of some of the subcontractors who have filed liens (totaling $500,000) in the Rockingham town land records office. Cullenen said the legal issues will have to be ironed out before the town learns how much money is left for the renovation project. The library is open during construction.

Engelberth Construction Inc. was selected by the library trustees on Tuesday, Jan. 15, to "button up" the building by closing in its roofs and walls and making it "reasonably weathertight."

Cullenen said Engelberth's work has been completed. He told the Reformer a new construction management firm will likely be hired at some point in the future but that process has barely even begun.

Cullenen had previously believed the renovation project would be finished by the spring but said Tuesday that it will be some time in the late summer or early fall. The library was closed Monday, Feb. 25, until the morning of Thursday, Feb. 28, for spray foam insulation.

Janice Mitchell-Love, chairwoman of the library's board of trustees, said the building closed temporarily because the fumes could have been dangerous to patrons and staff members.

Rockingham Selectboard previously told the Reformer there will be some sort of investigation into the whole situation. He said the library trustees hired Baybutt as the general contractor and the Selectboard got involved only "once things went south." The board intervened, he said, because the town owns the library.

The state of Vermont canceled a contract with Baybutt due to similar problems. The town of Antrim, N.H., followed suit and terminated a contract to construct a new police station.

Baybutt had been in business since 1964.

Domenic Poli can be reached at, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.


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