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Archive for Tuesday, February 8, 2011

$1.2M design contract for new library approved by Lawrence City Commission; city to consider costs of adding extras to plans

Estimates requested for adding transit hub, new Farmers’ Market location

A patron make his way to the Lawrence Public Library on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011. City commissioners are scheduled to discuss the library design during Tuesday night's commission meeting.

A patron make his way to the Lawrence Public Library on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011. City commissioners are scheduled to discuss the library design during Tuesday night's commission meeting.

February 8, 2011

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The spending for an expanded public library has begun at Lawrence City Hall, and commissioners Tuesday said they’re open to at least considering spending a little bit more than originally planned.

Commissioners at their weekly meeting unanimously approved a $1.2 million contract to design a $19 million expansion and parking garage project for the library at Seventh and Vermont streets.

“This is a great night,” said City Commissioner Aron Cromwell. “This is going to be a fantastic project that will produce a fantastic building.”

It also may produce a few extra bells and whistles not originally planned for when the project was approved by voters in November.

Commissioners agreed to have Lawrence-based Gould Evans Architects include several options into their design work. They include:

• Adding another level of parking to the proposed 250 space parking garage that would be just south of the library. Another level would add 50 to 70 spaces but could cost another $1 million. Commissioners were told that any money for additional parking would not come from the $18 million bond issue approved by voters. Instead, the money would have to come from other city sources. Under the contract, the garage will be designed so the additional level can be removed from the construction plans if commissioners deem it too expensive.

• Designing the parking garage in a way that would allow it to also function as a public transit hub. Currently, the city’s main transfer point for the transit system is at Ninth and New Hampshire streets. The transfer station today is essentially just an outdoor bus stop. A facility in the parking garage would include restrooms and indoor waiting area. City Manager David Corliss said he envisions the transfer station would be located on the Kentucky Street side of the parking garage rather than the Vermont Street side.

• Consider how a public plaza area in front of the new library could be utilized to host the Downtown Lawrence Farmers’ Market. The market currently operates in the 800 block of New Hampshire and the 1000 block of Vermont streets. But leaders of the market previously have expressed interest in having more space for vendors, access to restroom facilities, and perhaps other amenities such as a portable kitchen.

The transit hub and any improvements for the Farmers Market would have to be funded with money not included in the $18 million bond issue, Corliss said. But Corliss recommended that the commission at least get pricing options for all three additions.

“I don’t want to have to rebuild something after we’ve already built it,” Corliss said.

Commissioners agreed to at least let design work go forward, but stopped short of saying they could ultimately support construction of the additional items.

“I do have some concern because we asked the public to chime in and support this project in November,” Mayor Mike Amyx said. “Making changes to it at this time does concern me some.”

City leaders hope to accept construction bids for all the library projects in the fall. Construction then would take about 20 months. It is expected to create major disruptions to parking in the area, but the library intends to stay open during the project.

Comments

oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 2 months ago

The amtrak station financing according to the Journal World editorial is questionable in these hard times, so they say, that being the case, what position will the Journal World editorial staff take on the library???

hard times is hard times, so why is the library exempted?

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gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 2 months ago

Will there be a monorail stop? What is Sven's position on this?

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irvan moore 3 years, 2 months ago

i agree, the riverfront mall is the only sensible option, i disagree about abe and jakes. i sure don't think we have to pay 1.7 millon for abe and jakes, make an realistic offer to get back what we gave away. why was this option never discussed or brought before the public?

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Dan Simons 3 years, 2 months ago

The voters have spoken, but in hindsight, I sure think this should of received more attention, especially now that you could make an argument for moving the desired train depot function 100 yards into the east end of the lower mall and have an additional 108 parking stalls on on city land

$1.7 million: Buy Abe and Jakes. 20,000 square feet, large public entertaining, reading, meeting, and coffee shop space on the river, on city land. $4.5 million: Buy the west half of the Riverfront Plaza. Three levels, 70,000 square feet, 230 cat-5 Ethernet wired computer stations, 500 parking stalls, all on city land. $5 million: Renovate the 40,000 square feet on floors one and two at $125/square foot. For $11 million, Lawrence could have a beautiful 90,000-square-foot library, on the river, with a 500-stall existing parking structure, all on city-owned land and enhancing the city’s relationship to the river. And the community library still would be downtown. All work could be done with no interruption to current library operations. The city then could sell the existing library space to help finance the project. Who knows? Possibly a downtown grocery might materialize.

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oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 2 months ago

Anyone care to place a bet on how long after the "new" building is finished, it will be dirty just as the current facility is?

I give it 6 months.Fire the current director for starters.

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ranger73 3 years, 2 months ago

I'm afraid you were only one of many, Cadillac, that didn't realize this was more for a parking garage than any library expansion. And now the powers that be feel they have an open checkbook for seemingly whatever they want to add to this fiasco. Good question Beatnik-why can't it be smaller. No matter how you dress it up, it wil still be just a parking garage. How refreshing albeit unrealistic would it be to have them say yeah we have 18 million dollars to use, but we want to be fiscally responsible and try and get this done for less, and still fulfill our wants I mean needs. Which one of these "leaders" is willing to say whoa wait a minute, why can't we do this for less instead of more?

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LawrenceMomof3 3 years, 2 months ago

I wonder what contractor will be doing the work??

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Laura House Blanchard 3 years, 2 months ago

Very pleased that a local Lawrence firm was chosen for this work, but will they chose to spend the $1.2 million dollar fee with local consultants or head out of town to benefit other towns. It would be nice to see this $$$ stay in Lawrence.

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irvan moore 3 years, 2 months ago

i wonder why if they can discuss making the parking garage bigger why they can't discuss making it smaller.

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George Lippencott 3 years, 2 months ago

little bit = a couple of million. After awhile it adds up to real money. Is this the best place to spend more or just a target of opportunity???

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sr80 3 years, 2 months ago

i can't wait for it to begin!!!!

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Gedanken 3 years, 2 months ago

Guess what? I have a child and my wife is a school teacher. Yes, she uses it as a resource. However - the current plan is absolutely ridiculous. We were and are against this expansion in its current form.

The excuses for doing this besides "We want to do it" were all lies. No grant funding was in jeopardy. The standards for determining the library level had no basis in reality. Even better -the library self-determined what library level they wanted to "achieve". None of this came out during the debate. The reporting from the LJ World on this topic was a joke. Chad started asking some of the right questions at the last minute, but it was a too little - WAY too late.

The only thing that I support from the current plan is the expansion of the children's room. It is really getting crowded and is probably one of the most used sections.

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cadillac 3 years, 2 months ago

I did vote on this in November, I did know there was a parking garage attached to this. Seems though all the yard signs I saw and all the hype didn't depict much about the parking garage. I don't think the voters under stood they were voting more on a Public Parking Garage than additions to the library. I really didn't think it would pass. The soft spot for kids passed this and I don't think they voters knew. I stand by my figures that we sholuld have spent less on 250,000 sf of new high school than this is costing. You are right, the math seems alittle fuzzy on the cost of the "library" expansion.

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50YearResident 3 years, 2 months ago

Once they get you to the "drop your shorts and bend over" part, there is no limit to the tests they can give you..

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friendlyjhawk 3 years, 2 months ago

What a waste. City just spends and spends and it is never enough. The picture of the proposed facade on the library was ugly. The parking garage will be ugly and they are pouring money in a rat hole. Think I will start going to Topeka's Library because it will impossible to get into this one soon.

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ranger73 3 years, 2 months ago

Wow Cadillac-what vacuum have you been in? There was a vote in November for this "library expansion" parking garage. I'm sure at least $500,000 could be knocked off if you get rid of the artsy fartsy exterior stuff and just maybe save some of that $18 million. Imagine having something come in UNDER budget. Just cuz you got it, (kind of) doesn't mean you have to spend it. Or does it? And if it is supposed to be an $18 million expansion, why are they contracted to design a $19 million expansion? Math seems a little fuzzy there.

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macon47 3 years, 2 months ago

IT IS ALL ABOUT THE KIDS we love the kiddies dont fail them spend your money

but i will keep mine thanks

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booyalab 3 years, 2 months ago

“This is going to be a fantastic project that will produce a fantastic homeless shelter.”

fixed that.

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johnwoods 3 years, 2 months ago

If they add enclosed seating and restrooms in adds to the on-going maintenance costs of the garage... electricity, water, maintenance, custodial, etc. Just doesn't seem like the right time to spend an additional amount over what was approved by the voters.

I did vote against the library, but it passed. So be it. But I think the library should have a fee system for those people that use its services that are not residents of Lawrence. From what I understand, anyone in Northeast Kansas can use it free of charge. Is this why we need more computers and space? Why not charge non-residents a small fee?

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cadillac 3 years, 2 months ago

Did we vote on a library expansion or a parking garage? I hope people know this is costing more that Free State High School......which cost us 7 million more than it shoud have.

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irnmadn88 3 years, 2 months ago

Hmm. Concentrating the big blue busses on Kentucky Street directly opposite the public swimming pool. Wonder what is going to happen to that pedestrian controlled traffic light? Are they going to build a pedestrian bridge? What about that drop off lane in front of the pool? Not to mention that the fire station is just around the corner. This just seems like a bad traffic plan to me.

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bballwizard 3 years, 2 months ago

Fantastice but would have prefered they use Treanor. Please dont complain about building a new library. My children have used the library for 17 years and my wife is a school teacher and uses it as a resource. This kind of progress is good. For those that are complaining do some self refelction and try and figure out why you are son bitter.

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Liberty275 3 years, 2 months ago

Can we also add a gokart track, a skate park and maybe one of those little trains like they had in the jerk for little kids to ride on? All three would be just an extra few million and we could make everyone with a house pay for them even if they don't use them.

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macon47 3 years, 2 months ago

we elected the commissioners to spend our money and darn they are doing a heck of a job

i hope hey have moe local contractors on this library job, than they did the carneige library that was embarrassing

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Scruggsy 3 years, 2 months ago

Spelling error: it should be "transient" hub...

Can only imagine what that place will be like. Who needs the new shelter? The bums can just loiter here, wait for a bus, or not, and beg for some cash while safe from the elements. And cruise next door for some 'net surfing when the mood strikes.

It's gonna be so awesome.

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LeBo 3 years, 2 months ago

Transportation hub @ Amtrak station w/ Greyhound and city bus exchange, airport shuttle!

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red_devil 3 years, 2 months ago

19 million dollars just to expand? And how does any honest person say after the public has voted for the project, well, we're going to add a few more things? Seems like a ton of money for things that the majority of citizens will never use.

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crimsonwithblue22 3 years, 2 months ago

I know it's a tough bidding market out there for construction companies and architectural firms. Curious how many architectural firms submitted bid and/or design proposals for this project and what ultimately "won the day" for Gould Evans?

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northtown 3 years, 2 months ago

What a waste!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ten years and they want to do it again??Spend,Spend,Taxes are going up-Citizens are the ones that have to pay!!!

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gilly 3 years, 2 months ago

Nice! I applaud the commission and the planners for considering the public good! This would be an excellent use of money by the city to make the city more livable and more sociable. A transit hub, restroom facilities, and good space for the farmer's market is so much better than tax breaks for developers building retail and condo/apartment space downtown when when other similar structures downtown can't be filled.

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irvan moore 3 years, 2 months ago

if you liked Quantrell ya gotta love cromwell, appears to do a much better job of looting the city.

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Floyd Craig 3 years, 2 months ago

well the idiots at work again spending money they dont really have but tax payers will have to foot the bill again so what my spelling is bad who cares I DONT

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Healthcare_Moocher 3 years, 2 months ago

The old bait and switch at its finest.

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pace 3 years, 2 months ago

I like the transportation hub idea.

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PrimalScream 3 years, 2 months ago

Waste of time and money, shame it was ever passed.

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coderob 3 years, 2 months ago

Hold your horses there. Governments issue bonds all the time, like treasury bonds for instance. The government later pays the interest and principal on the bond at set times, and bond holders often get a break on income taxes. The only part the financial crisis plays is that the city might get a lower bond rating since it temporarily has a higher credit risk, and so it may have to pay more interest.

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Fatty_McButterpants 3 years, 2 months ago

Apparently, the only government not having any financial trouble is right here in Lawrence.

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