TRURO – A newly constructed library building could offer heating, lighting and other modern advantages that might not be available by refurbishing the former Normal College, Colchester County’s mayor says.
Colchester County Mayor Bob Taylor
“I guess the more I think of it too, I think a newer building would serve us well, ” Mayor Bob Taylor said, of his revised preference regarding the site of new regional library in Truro.
“It’s been pretty well proven over the years and, unless there is a lot of nostalgic value to a building or whatever, you are better to go new and put new things in. You’ve got to make your buildings green today … and it’s harder with an older building there’s no doubt about it.”
While Taylor said he had previously “been an advocate” along with Truro Mayor Bill Mills that the former Normal College would make a preferred site for the library, the consensus of the county committee, which includes two other councillors, is that a new building would be a better investment.
Mills expressed frustration during a town council meeting Monday over the change in the county’s position, given the length of time it is taking to reach consensus on replacing the existing library, which has been in service since 1968.
“I thought we were making headway but, here we go again,” Mills was quoted as saying, during the meeting.
His sentiment was echoed by town councilor Raymond Tynes.
“It seems every time we get closer, we go three steps back,” Tynes said.
No actual cost has been attached to constructing a new library because the size has yet to be determined.
Area contractor Leo Rovers of L&R Construction said in a Truro Daily News article last March that he could renovate the 132-year-old Normal College, which is owned by the town, for a cost of $6.5 million spread over 20 years.
“I have all the faith in the world with Leo Rovers and L & R Construction of doing the job over there but, I guess when you look at the end of the day, the operational costs and so on, I think we better look at a new one,” Taylor said. “So I guess that’s where I am.”
Given the degree of green technology available for new construction, from a heating and natural light perspective, and the difference in operational and maintenance costs between a new building and one as old as the Normal College, Taylor said the money would be better spend with a new structure.
“It’s created a lot of discussion lately … and if you asked the public, I think they would be split on it,” he said. “But that’s where I’m leaning now for sure.”