Above, from left to right: Project Manager Paul Queeney and Assistant Project Manager Walter Hartley.

With the official grand opening of the Shrewsbury Public Library last month, we sat down with PMA Project Manager Paul Queeney, PE, FMP, MCPPO to learn more about this project and its many successes.

PMA provided comprehensive Owner’s Project Management services for this project. Can you tell us more about the team?
PMA’s Walter Hartley was present on-site full time during construction looking out for the owner’s interests with his long track record of success with design-bid-build and CM-at-Risk projects. Clerk of the Works, Jon Pope, was also on-site full time. Walter and Jon monitored the work of the CM and subs and coordinated with the architect, commissioning agent, and testing agencies to assure the project was built on time with high quality. I provided some support to Walter and Jon while Chris Carroll provided executive leadership to the entire team.

The Shrewsbury Library Project has been very successful, finishing both on time and under budget. What’s the secret to this success and how did PMA assist in these efforts?
The project was on time due, in part,  to the establishment of a reasonable project completion milestone within the bid documents. In addition, weekly on-site job progress meetings with frank and open discussions were key to keeping the job on track with respect to quality, budget, and schedule. The weekly meetings were supplemented by monthly CPM construction schedule updates during peak construction. The project came in under budget because of the good assembly of bid packages by the architect and the CM (with OPM oversight); good construction market for the owner with strong competition resulting in competitive bids; good design ensuring only limited concerns being raised by subcontractors; good construction management; few unanticipated/unforeseen conditions; and owner resistance to scope creep.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced in the managing of this project? What made it unique to other projects you have managed in the past?
The project was built on a tight site in a busy mixed commercial, residential, and historic district. Demolition of adjacent and nearby structures had to be done without damaging the historic main library that was constructed in 1903. Although ample time was allowed for construction, late winter storms in February of 2015 at the start of the project created some challenges and required the close monitoring of progress throughout the summer and fall to assure that the exterior of the new addition would be closed in for interior finish work during the winter of 2015/2016.

Did you utilize NetPoint, and if so, how did it contribute to the success and client understanding of this project?
Yes, a summary-level NetPoint schedule, depicting design, bid & award, construction, FF&E/IT delivery/set-up, move-in, and close-out was developed early in design and provided the Building Committee and the public with a simple big picture view of the entire project on a single 11×17 sheet.

The Town of Shrewsbury community was very supportive of this project in many ways. How did PMA get involved to further boost town support and funding?
A previous version of a library project, by another OPM and architect, failed at the ballot box. With the present iteration of the design, PMA collaborated with the Town and the architect in the development of the project scope and budget. The new design incorporated the concerns and interests of the Town’s voters and the project was approved at a Special Town Meeting in October of 2013 and at a subsequent Town-wide election in November of 2013.

How did PMA assist in communicating project updates along the way to keep town support thriving?
Weekly on-site job progress meetings and monthly construction schedule updates during peak construction were key to keeping the job on track with respect to quality, budget, and schedule. The OPM, architect, and CM met once per month with the Building Committee. All Building Committee meetings were open public meetings with the majority of the meetings televised on local community access television and then posted on the Internet. Additionally, Walter Hartley provided periodic televised job site tours with the Library Director with the tours being broadcast on local community access television. The televised Building Committee Meetings and job tours allowed the general public to see that the job was in good hands, guided by an experienced team. I believe that this public confidence helped support the Library project in meeting its private fund-raising goal of $1,750,000.

Modern libraries have transformed into community hubs that offer a variety of spaces, programs, technologies, and amenities. What kinds of modern features were incorporated into this renovated library?
The design included a multi-purpose room suitable for both library and community events (the Town has a shortage of available public meeting spaces). The room can be divided into 2 separate spaces by closing a movable partition. Each subdivided room has a short-throw projector and smartboard. Adjacent to the multi-purpose room is a community commons “hallway” with a high ceiling and clerestory that allows natural lighting to supplement the energy efficient LED lighting. The community commons also includes space for art exhibits. The multi-purpose room and community commons are located so that they can be accessed for events when the library is closed (with the hallway secured with a retractable gate that prohibits entry into the library during after-hours events). Other amenities and features are the 100 computers for staff and public and wireless Internet access throughout the building, computer training rooms, meeting spaces, and study spaces. The building includes a closed-off young adult area with a lot of space for both multimedia and quiet study. A secure children’s area on the ground floor features space for strollers, story-reading group areas, computers, and furnishings suited to the age-level – this children’s area opens up to an outdoor children’s courtyard that includes a pergola, sculptures, and limestone bench seating inscribed with quotes from classic children’s books.

Any other fun facts you would like to share about the Shrewsbury Library Project?
The project involved a 25,000 SF demolition (20,000 library, 5,000 credit union); 32,000 SF new construction; and 6,600 SF of historic renovation. Approximately 30 subcontractors worked on the job and at least as many significant manufacturers and material suppliers. Peak headcount of construction workers on site was approximately 65 workers with averages ranging from 35 to 55 workers/day during the busy times before and after the peak level of effort.

  • Collaborative team of owner personnel, owner’s project manager, architect, and construction manager. The Town’s consultants and contractor knew that their own organizations’ measures of success were contingent upon assuring the Town’s goals being met.
  • CM-at-Risk project delivery method allows owner to select contractor on a qualifications basis and bring in a contractor as an advisor during the design phase, a different way of doing business than the traditional design-bid-build project delivery method.
  • A quality design, fully completed before the start of construction, resulted in only minor on-site difficulties in the field during construction; far less than what is common on many building construction projects.
  • 16 months of construction: abatement and demo started on 2/2/15 and building was substantially completed by the end of May 2016.  This was followed by 2 months, June and July, of FF&E/IT deliveries and set-ups and punch list work.


View a video of the grand opening ceremony.