Library vote dissected
A wrap up of election results shows the Lawrence Public Library bond issue found good support in all areas of town, but opposition was more likely on the west side of the city. A total of 13 of the 49 Lawrence precincts voted against the library proposal, but none had negative votes that registered 60 percent or more. That was in contrast to 10 precincts that supported the library to the tune of 70 percent or more.
For more stats on the library vote, read Wednesday's Town Talk post.
Now that the one detail of $18 million is out of the way, leaders of the Lawrence Public Library are excited to be moving on to more specifics about the planned expansion of the facility.
“We’re working to coordinate everything,” library director Bruce Flanders said Wednesday, one day after voters approved the project. “But I’ve never been through one of these bond issues before. It has been 38 years since we’ve built a library in Lawrence.”
The biggest detail in the mind of Flanders is when to string the ribbon to be cut.
“I know that is what we all want to know,” Flanders said. “I think we’re probably looking at late 2012 or early 2013.”
There will be several smaller steps in the coming weeks.
City Manager David Corliss said the City Commission soon will be presented with a contract to have Lawrence-based Gould Evans prepare final design documents for the 20,000-square-foot expansion and renovation.
Gould Evans was selected through a competitive process by city commissioners earlier this year. Commissioners later will have to put out to bid the construction contract for the project.
“I would expect that you will start seeing some construction by the summer or fall of 2011,” Corliss said.
The final design process is expected to take six to nine months, even though Gould Evans has completed preliminary floorplans and exterior renderings. But several important details remain, including:
l How the project will be built to allow the library to remain open throughout construction. Flanders said collections likely will have to be rearranged several times, and noise and dust issues will have to be addressed. But he said library leaders are adamant the facility would not close for any significant period of time.
“That will not happen,” Flanders said.
l A way to connect the proposed three-level parking garage with the library so patrons won’t have to go outside.
l Plans for where patrons will park while the parking garage is being constructed on the current surface parking lot adjacent to the library. Flanders said a key decision to be made is whether the parking garage will be the first phase of the project or whether the expansion of the library will occur first.
Details about all the different finishes and how the interior of the library will look and feel also are to come, Flanders said. Already, plans call for a new section — called Popular Materials — to be placed near the front entrance of the facility. It will include a mix of the newest releases of books, movies and music that will be displayed in more of a bookstore style aimed at making it easy for patrons to get in and out.
The rest of the library also will have a different style, with more natural light, computers scattered throughout the building and new furnishings.
“I think it will feel different,” Flanders said. “People who come in now get the sense that there is a lot of concrete and a lot of rows of book stacks. I think we’re going to be able to mix it up a lot more.”