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Endowment Funds Exhausted, Work Stops on Library Expansion

The interior of Goodall Library, showing the partially constructed circulation desk area.

The interior of Goodall Library, showing the partially constructed circulation desk area.

Photo: Lee Burnett

By Lee Burnett, submissions editor

Goodall Library has halted construction of its $3.9 million expansion because it has exhausted internal financing and has yet to receive release of a $3 million federal grant.

Tradespeople were pulled off the job April 11. The project had employed 30-40 carpenters, electricians, drywallers, roofing contractors and others, according to Steve Dumont, president of TPD Construction Co. “We put our guys on other jobs. It’s certainly not ideal,” he said.

The library is still awaiting confirmation of release of funds from its contact at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to Library Director Ann Thomas. The last communication was May 16. Confirmation is needed for the library to obtain a construction loan so construction can resume, she said. The library has contacted Maine Senators Angus King and Susan Collins. Senator Collins office has also been pushing HUD to release the funds. Communications Director Anne Clark said all the necessary forms have been submitted.

“We are hopeful that things will come together soon to smooth out this rough spot. Community support and understanding that we are all in this together helps,” explained Thomas.

Senator King’s office said good news should be forthcoming soon.

“News on this front is certainly better than it was last week at this time,” said Matthew Felling, communications director for King. “The whole delegation has come together and is pushing HUD to deliver for them.”

In December 2022, Goodall Library was awarded a $3 million Community Project Funding grant, under the leadership of former Library Director Richard “Chip” Schrader. The grant allowed construction of new space for a community room, study rooms, and offices, as well as updated technology and a rebuilt main entrance. In September 2023, on the eve of construction start, Schrader left to become director of the Scarborough Public Library. The library closed for most of September while it moved its collection to temporary space at the Center for Shopping, and then construction started.

“The board and library staff were under the impression that construction could begin using available endowment funds, until the HUD funds were made available. No one anticipated the funds taking so long to be made available,” according to a press release.

The library pieced together internal funds from investments at HM Payson, Maine Community Foundation and others without spending down the endowment itself, as directed by financial advisor Shawn Dumont of Edward Jones. The library also secured an advance on its budget allocation from the City of Sanford to fund the repair of the slate roof. To date, the library has expended $1.3 million.

Although construction has stopped, bills continue. Fees for materials, contractor, subcontractor, and architect were incurred after the last available endowment draw and before the “stop work order,” according to the library.

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