Sunapee Library to Break Ground

New Home Prevailed Over Many Obstacles

Sunapee — The end of the long, difficult and at times contentious road the town has traveled toward a new library is finally in view.

After more than a decade of debate, approval, revotes and ultimately successful fundraising, construction is set to begin at the Route 11 and Sargent Road site this fall.

“We hope to start excavation and get the foundation in this fall, work through the winter and have a grand opening next summer,” Abbott Library Trustee Chairwoman Terri Jillson White said Tuesday.

Last week the Selectboard signed the contract with the construction manager Trumbull Nelson, which comes just a couple of weeks after the Abbott Library Foundation reached its goal on Sept. 19 of raising $1.3 million in donations toward the $2.7 million project. At town meeting in March, residents approved a $975,000 bond to help finance construction, a year after an identical article was defeated by a handful of votes.

“It was easier (to raise money) after the vote because the town had made a commitment,” White said, referring to the bond approval.

The 2.78-acre parcel was purchased after Town Meeting in 2012 when voters authorized spending money from reserve funds and donations. It was the third location considered for the library. Two other properties had initially won voter approval but both were overturned in subsequent votes.

With a new library that will be more than twice the size of the current 3,500-square-foot-space, White said patrons will finally have enough room to make it more inviting to remain at the library for reading and other activities. Additionally, the new building will provide the opportunity to expand programs.

White also sounded enthusiastic about another important piece.

“We will have a lot more parking,” she said.

The architect is Peter Tennant of Tennant-Wallace Architects in Manchester, N.H.

A groundbreaking ceremony will be held soon, though a date has not been set.

White said she looks forward to opening the doors of the library and was thrilled when the fundraising goal was attained.

“I was very excited. I think this is an incredible moment in Sunapee’s history to have a building that will be enjoyed by generations to come.”

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at