KENNEBUNKPORT – During a groundbreaking ceremony Monday, kicking off the $1.5 million Mothers Wing addition at the Louis T. Graves Memorial Library, Retired Rear Admiral George Emery called it “a wonderful day in the history of this 203-year-old building.”
Pictured Above (left to right) Mother’s Wing Campaign President George Emery, Graves Library Director Mary-Lou Boucouvalas, Library board vice-chair Mike Weston, President of Ouellet Construction Mike Ouellet and Brad Page, CEO of Kennebunk Savings Bank.
“It’s a great commissioning day,” said Emery, chairman of the Mothers Wing Capital Campaign, who welcomed guests and officials at the library for the ceremony.
The Mothers Wing, named in honor of all mothers who have utilized the library’s services over the past century to encourage their children to read, will be a new wing added on to the existing library where the Perkins House was recently torn down. The new wing will provide much needed space for collections and programs, an elevator for enhanced handicapped access, and will update the library’s aged infrastructure, according to Emery.
Library Director Mary-Lou Boucouvalas said the capital campaign has raised nearly 70 percent of the funds needed for the addition, with expected completion of the project slated for September. Boucouvalas said more donations are needed to reach their goal, and donations can be made in person at the library or online at www.graveslibrary.org.
“The good news is that the Mothers Wing with its basement and two upper levels, while consuming no larger footprint than the recently razed Perkins House, will offer twice the usable space while modernizing and expanding the ability of the cultural center of Kennebunkport to carry our many services to the surrounding area,” Boucouvalas said.
Selectman Ed Hutchins was on hand for the groundbreaking and he was happy to contribute to the campaign saying the model boats on the walls of the library inspired his own model building as a boy.
Hutchins remembered walking with his class from Consolidated School, something school children still do today, Boucouvalas said.
“I’ve been coming here really ever since I can remember,” Hutchins said. “So it’s a pretty special place to me.”
Ouellet Construction Company, of Brunswick, has been contracted to build the new wing, and Mike Ouellet, president of the company, said “we’re honored to do your addition and be part of the history of a very historic building.”
Work began on the project in December with the demolition of the Perkins House, the 1950’s era addition on the back of the property that housed the book sale. Mike Weston, vice president of the library board of trustees, said the building was in poor condition with mold in the walls and razing it made it possible to construct the addition on the same footprint. Salvageable items from the Perkins House were removed by volunteers from Habitat for Humanity and sold at the ReStore in Kennebunk.
The new wing will be attached to the existing building, and the materials used will be compatible with the original building.
“We recognize that the library is a signature structure in the towns of Kennebunk and Kennebunkport,” Emery said in a press release when the project was launched last summer. “As a result, we have worked closely with architects who specialize in historic structures to ensure that we preserve the character of this classic building while providing library users with an expanded and fully updated facility.”
Those wishing to donate to the Mothers Wing Capital Campaign can donate online at www.graveslibrary.org or directly at the library.
Credit – Seacoast Online