Report to Township Committee

Kirstie Venanzi, President of the Library Board of Trustee, attended the Township Committee Meeting on Monday, August 14 to update the Committee Members on the outcome of the bidding process. She reported:

The Bids were opened publicly in the library on Wednesday, July 26, following the rules of municipal bidding. We had 17 bidders, with total base costs ranging from $3.09 MM to $3.96 MM. The three lowest bidders were given to the architect and lawyer to qualify.

The three lowest bidders did come in all clustered around $ 3.1 MM. This was definitely in the higher range of what we were expecting. With $2.5 MM in the bank, the township site funds, and the township requirement for 5% contingency funds, the cost results in a $400,000 gap before we could break ground.

Click the image below to see a breakout of costs and funds.

The bid packet included several “options” such as millwork and a new circulation desk, but the base bids represented the minimum required to build an operational public library and community center. We do not see any option to reduce the scope of the project without incurring significant additional architecture and engineering costs.

The Library Board has until September 27 to respond to the bids. We plan on taking this full amount of time in order to allow the architect and the lawyer to vet the lowest bidders. This time also allows the foundation to continue to raise funds.

The township also asked for information on our donors.  The chart below shows the strong base of community support for the new library.

The Library Project Bids are In

The construction bids for the new library and community center were opened on July 26. The Library Board and Foundation are assessing options to proceed.

On Wednesday, July 26, seventeen bids for the new library project were received and opened in a public meeting in the current public/school library.  “We’ve been working towards a cost estimate for some time, and now we know the amount to proceed,” said Library Board President, Kirstie Venanzi. “While we hoped to have enough today to move forward, there is a gap of about $400,000 before we can accept the bid and award the contract. We are exploring options to see if we can complete the funding for the project in the next 90 days.”

While the Library Board assesses how to close the $400,000 gap, the library’s architect and attorney will review and qualify the lowest bid. The Library Board will report the results at the Township Committee meeting on Monday, August 14 at 7:00 p.m. in Town Hall.  “We are asking our supporters to attend the meeting and let the Committee know how important this project is to them,” said Marilynn Mullen, Library Director.

The project might be helped over the finish line with some support from Trenton: last week, Governor Christie signed the NJ Library Construction Bond Act, placing it on the general election ballot in November. If approved, the act could provide matching funds for approved library construction projects in New Jersey. Timing and criteria for this project will be determined by the State Librarian.

“I was hoping we would be finished the major fundraising,” said Michael Ferrante, Library Foundation President, “but now we have clarity on exactly how far we are from the finish line. I am confident of our ability to reach our goal. All of Cranbury will benefit from this new community space.”

Donations to help close the gap can be dropped off at the library.  For more information check our Ways to Give page.  Over 700 Cranbury households, businesses, and civic organizations have contributed to the cause. The final phase of the campaign is the “champion brick program” where people can choose an inscription for a brick to be placed where the new building meets the 14-acre open space.

The public library has shared a space with the Cranbury School media center since the late 1960s. After acknowledging this arrangement didn’t meet the needs of either group, a foundation was set up in 2009 to raise funds for a stand-alone library and community center. The Cranbury Public Library Foundation, along with capital reserves from the Library Board, have raised $2.63 MM through private donations towards the construction of a new building. In the last twelve months, the project completed all township reviews, and the Cranbury Township Committee agreed to fund an adjacent municipal parking lot.

Time to buy a brick!

I know you’ve heard the exciting news – the new library project is out to bid!  July 26th at 11:00 a.m. is the public opening of the bids when we find out if we have sufficient funds to break ground.  We need only $140,000 more to reach our goal of $2.75M! That is why we urging everyone to donate now. 

There is still time to buy a brick!  You can place a brick order on the Website at  Pay by check or credit card.  You can pay for your brick now, then choose the inscription later (once you’ve settled on the perfect wording).

Please help us reach our goal!

The Library Project is Out to Bid!

Our new library / community center design and site plan is totally complete.  We’ve dotted every “i” and crossed every “t”.  Now with detailed bid documents approved by the township, we are officially OUT TO BID!

The Library Foundation and Board have been working toward this goal for several years. Thanks to dedicated volunteers and strong community support, we are almost at the finish line. The Foundation had raised nearly  $2.6 MM from more than 700 donors. This amount is only $177,000 below the estimated construction costs. Our final task is to make sure we have the funding in place to begin construction. We are planning to raise this amount before the bids are opened on July 26th

That’s where our Community Walk of Knowledge brick program comes in.  We are paving the path to our future – one brick at a time.  If you haven’t already purchased a personalized brick, now is the time to do it.  Residents and businesses can purchase a “champion” brick (8” X 8”) for $1000 and select up to six lines of text, to recognize their family, honor a loved one, or include their favorite quote.  A “citizen” brick (4” X 8”) is also available for $500 and has space for up to three lines of text.

So, buy a brick and help finish the project!  To order a brick, you can download the form  and mail it, along with your check, to the library.  Or visit the Bricks R Us website at 

Community Walk of Knowledge Brick Program Update

Brick and rendering 022117

Buy a brick and help finish the project!  To order a brick, you can download the form  and mail it, along with your check, to the library.  Or visit the brick donor website: 

We are on track to have a new library in 2017

After five years of fundraising and planning, the end is in sight!  The combined library and community center design is complete and is going out for bid in March. While the bidding and contracting process is underway, the Cranbury Library Foundation is raising the final $190,000 that they estimate will cover the new building construction. This final fundraising phase of the project is the Community Walk of Knowledge.

Since last fall, we have achieved some key milestones:

  • Architecture design is completed.  Architecture firm Arcari+Iovino, a NJ-based firm that specializes in libraries, has completed the final design of the combined library/community center.
  • Planning Board approved the Site Plan at the end of Park Place West.  With feedback from local neighbors, the site was plan was changed in October to better integrate the building and parking lot into the 14-acre Wright Property preserved space.
  • Cranbury Township Committee agreed to build the adjacent municipal parking lot and required rainwater detention system.  They have included $475,000 into the 2017 capital budget.  The adjacent parking lot will also support the downtown business area.
  • Detailed building construction plans are ready to go out to final bid.  Based on the revised site plan, the final detailed construction plans are being completed with the intention to go out to bid in March.  The bid cycle is 30 days, after which the bids will be opened at a public meeting.
  • Furniture for new space donated.  Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) is renovating a wing of their Lawrenceville facility and donated 100 chairs, as well as bookshelves, tables, conference room furniture and filing cabinets for the new library building.  The value is estimated at over $50,000 and will allow the new building to open and be functional from Day 1.

Now we have to raise $190,000 to break ground!   To do this, our final phase is the Community Walk of Knowledge Brick Program.

Three Donor Recongnition Levels

There are three levels of donor recognition:

  • Donations totaling $10,000 or more qualify as named gifts for rooms and collections in the new library
  • Donations totaling $5,000 or more will be recognized on the Leadership Donor wall in the gallery of the new library / community center building
  • Donations of $1000 during this final “champion” phase will qualify for the Community Walk of Knowledge Brick Program (see below).  There is also a half-size brick available for $500.

“The Community Walk of Knowledge is the outdoor plaza where the new building opens onto the 14-acre open space that the township has preserved for a town square and recreational area,” explained Michael Ferrante, president of the Cranbury Library Foundation.   “This area will include a patio featuring engraved bricks recognizing donors from this final phase.  Cranbury residents and businesses can buy a brick and be a “champion” to help finish the project.  We want this to be a library and community center for all Cranbury residents.”

To participate in the Community Walk of Knowledge program, residents and businesses can purchase a “champion” brick (8” X 8”) for $1000 and select up to six lines of text, to recognize their family, honor a loved one, or include their favorite quote.  A “citizen” brick (4” X 8”) is also available for $500 and has space for up to three lines of text. The library foundation has partnered with Bricks R Us, a company that helps with brick fundraising programs around the country.  To order a brick visit the brick donor website or  download the form  and mail it, along with your check, to the library.

To increase your donation to a Leadership Donor or qualify for a named gift, please contact Marilynn Mullen at 655-0555 or Michael Ferrante at 655-3465.