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


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.


Fatty_McButterpants 6 years ago

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

jmadison 6 years ago

Has there been an independent audit of the City's financial situation, including the obligations for future pension costs? It seems like every other year, the taxpayers are told we are in a dire circumstance and need an increase in taxes, either a new sales tax or an increase in property taxes. After the tax is increased, we learn that there are funds available for additions and upgrades to the project---ie the true cost of building 2 high school football stadiums vs the advertised cost. Its quite discouraging to live in Lawrence, pay taxes, and be constantly scammed.

coderob 6 years 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.

johnwoods 6 years ago

I just don't understand the hub idea. Why would a hub not be placed in a central location instead of on one side of the city? And it states in the article that the extra funds will not be coming from the bond but from other city sources.

somebodynew 6 years ago

johnwoods - ANY "hub" has to incorporate and help save the precious downtown that can't seem to survive without constant "management".

PrimalScream 6 years ago

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

pace 6 years ago

I like the transportation hub idea.

irvan moore 6 years ago

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

Jennifer Dropkin 6 years 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.

Jefferson_County 6 years ago

Perhaps you should actually go into an up to date library sometime. Try the one at 87th and Farley in OP. They have lots of computers (maybe more than 150?), and they are always being used. Now granted, I've never asked the children there using them whether they are homeless, but I have noticed that that at least some of them seemed to be doing homework. Maybe they are researching how bond issues work.

And by the way, it's called a Kindle, and it is not a substitute for a library.

Lastly, I find your avatar offensive, although it is probably a fair representative of your personality.

Liberty275 6 years ago

"They have lots of computers (maybe more than 150?"

We have 5 computers for 2 people. If you are poor, a computer can be had for free to $50. Further, since when do people have the right to take my money so they can use a computer?

"And by the way, it's called a Kindle"

We have one of those too. We also have about 3000 physical books. If we need another, we buy it.

Libraries are for parasites. At least it would be interesting if it had a go kart track.

Jefferson_County 6 years ago

You obviously have no use for the research section of the library, or maybe you have one of those in your house also. or maybe you don't have room for any research books because of all the space your go kart track takes up.

Liberty275 6 years ago

LOL. If I need a research Library, the several at KU put the public library to shame.

Jefferson_County 6 years ago

What, did I touch a nerve? I am curious as to what God you pray to, if you indeed do pray, or what prayer even means to someone like you. Your avatar is childish, immature, and disrespectful, just like you intend it to be. So, mission accomplished, we all know what you are.

jafs 6 years ago

Except for a couple of things.

  1. We voted on a specific proposal, and they are now adding things (and costs) to it - the money for those will come from somewhere else, and thus be unavailable for other things.

  2. The commission is still almost certainly going to give tax breaks and parking spaces, etc. to developers downtown.

deec 6 years ago

The garage itself is a break for the developers. Eldridge expansion will ask for and receive dedicated parking in the new garage. The parking lot in the 800 block of Vermont will be given or "sold" to the developer of that project. They'll move the farmer's market so that the project at 11th and Vermont can have that parking area for their project. Doug will get his dedicated parking for his project. And it will all be justified because there is plenty of new parking at the library project.

deec 6 years ago

The garage itself is a break for the developers. Eldridge expansion will ask for and receive dedicated parking in the new garage. The parking lot in the 800 block of Vermont will be given or "sold" to the developer of that project. They'll move the farmer's market so that the project at 11th and Vermont can have that parking area for their project. Doug will get his dedicated parking for his project. And it will all be justified because there is plenty of new parking at the library project.

deec 6 years ago

Oops. Sorry about the double post.

crimsonwithblue22 6 years 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?

LeBo 6 years ago

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

Scruggsy 6 years 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.

Liberty275 6 years 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.

Kent Shrack 6 years ago

A weekend go cart track on the top level is a GREAT idea.

bballwizard 6 years 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.

justforfun 6 years ago

Eh what's a "son bitter" "My children have used the library for 17 years and my wife is a school teacher"
Better get some home schooling bballwiz!

jafs 6 years ago

Not bitter.

But the reasons given for the expansion didn't justify it, in my view. There's no need for Lawrence to have accreditation at the highest level - the second highest is more appropriate for our library.

And, there were other ideas that weren't considered, like the idea of a site-specific annex, which would free up parking space and space in the current library, and which would have cost much less.

irnmadn88 6 years 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.

Kent Shrack 6 years 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.

johnwoods 6 years 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?

no_thanks 6 years ago

Great suggestion on charging a fee. First, by charging for services, even if it is a marginal fee, it helps the library with resource allocation by identifying what services offered by the library is truly valued by consumers (i.e. they are willing to pay for). Second, it helps preserve assets of the library by reducing utilization, thus, extending the life of the asset for those who value it most. Finally, it sends the message that thos who benefit most from the library have some olbigation of bearing the costs of those benefits. And, remember, the library is not a free service, never has been, as it is paid by Lawrence property owners.

booyalab 6 years ago

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

fixed that.

ranger73 6 years 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.

Chad Lawhorn 6 years ago

It is an $18 million bond issue, but the Lawrence Public Library Foundation has agreed to privately raise $1 million for the project. That was disclosed during the campaign last fall. Thanks, Chad Lawhorn Journal-World

friendlyjhawk 6 years 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.

50YearResident 6 years 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..

Kent Shrack 6 years 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.

jafs 6 years ago

I think many voters thought it was a good idea, without understanding the details.

For example, we need more computers to attain the highest level of accreditation, but there are multiple levels, so we wouldn't have suddenly become not accredited.

One person I spoke with didn't know there'd be a tax increase to pay for it.

Gedanken 6 years 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.

Gedanken 6 years ago

This was supposed to be under bballwizard's comment. Oh well.

sr80 6 years ago

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

George Lippencott 6 years 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???

irvan moore 6 years ago

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

Laura House Blanchard 6 years 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.

LawrenceMomof3 6 years ago

I wonder what contractor will be doing the work??

ranger73 6 years 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?

Dan Simons 6 years 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.

Jay Keffer 6 years ago

Who is the current owner of the Riverfront Plaza?

irvan moore 6 years 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?

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years ago

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

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