Archive for Friday, March 25, 2011

Architects invite public to discuss design of $18 million Lawrence library expansion on Monday night

Parking garage a chief concern

March 25, 2011


This artist’s rendering shows the floor plan of the proposed expansion to the Lawrence Public Library.

This artist’s rendering shows the floor plan of the proposed expansion to the Lawrence Public Library.

A proposed expansion to the Lawrence Public library includes a renovated entrance on Vermont Street, shown in this artist’s rendering.

A proposed expansion to the Lawrence Public library includes a renovated entrance on Vermont Street, shown in this artist’s rendering.

Make no mistake about it, the design for an $18 million expansion of the Lawrence Public Library is still being drawn in pencil.

The city will host another public forum to discuss design issues and possible changes for the project at 7 p.m. on Monday at the library, 707 Vt.

“We’ve termed this as our listening tour,” said Steve Clark, one of the lead architects on the project with Lawrence-based Gould Evans.

Architects have developed a conceptual floor plan for the main level of the library — it is the same plan that was presented during last year’s bond election — but the tweaking is now beginning.

Jane Huesemann, a project manager for Gould Evans, said she’s already heard from several members of the public concerned about how a new parking garage would connect with the library. Currently, the plans call for people to walk through a narrow corridor to get to the Vermont Street side of the library. Huesemann said designers will look for a better altertantive.

“We recognize what we have right now is not a great solution,” Huesemann said.

But Clark said simply adding more entrances to the building can become tricky because that could increase operating costs for the library by creating more security issues.

The design of the adjacent parking garage also is creating several questions from the public. Specifically, residents want to know how tall it will be, but Clark said that hasn’t yet been determined. It could be four stories tall when viewed from the Kentucky Street side, but Clark said he couldn’t commit to a height yet. That’s because if other site changes are made that impact the footprint of the garage, the structure will either grow or shrink in height.

“But we recognize that everybody would like a shorter garage, if possible,” Clark said.

Clark also said there will need to be significant discussion about what type of design the exterior of the garage will have. Residents already have expressed concern about how the garage will look from the nearby Old West Lawrence neighborhood.

“On a public project like this, there is always pressure to maximize the dollars,” Clark said. “What we’ve budgeted for the garage is not luxurious in any way. As the pressure on the garage increases, we may have to shift some of the money in the budget around to address that. But that type of balancing act is pretty typical in these types of projects.”

Huesemann said she expects to have more specific plans to present to library leaders and city commissioners in June. Final plans are expected to be completed by the end of the year.


JackRipper 7 years, 1 month ago

How about something that looks like this, something that even after all these years people still care about because it is a good design instead of more of what the current library is and what the new plans are, just something nobody will care about so in 40 more years we'll be talking about replacing it as well. What do they teach in architecture schools now days, that architecture has to be at the same level of our brain dead culture? Of course it is pretty clear that the project is more about a parking garage, not about a library.

Hawkfan1 7 years, 1 month ago

If the Carnegie Library is an example of what people care about then why has the building been sitting vacant and unused for the past ten years? Not until recently has anyone been able to settle on a decision for the north addition and build it. I've seen original designs for the addition and they are by far more interesting than what got built. I would suggest looking at contemporary libraries that lend some sort of quality that the technological capabilities afford us today as opposed to resorting to a pedagogy that says "good design" is Beaux Arts style early 19th century architecture. The Carnegie is a treasure not because of the design but because of the means by which it was built- a gift from a generous man. Furthermore, it is a replica of every other Carnegie library built in that time, which, in Lawrence's case among the last ( 1920's, I think ). Unless there is some modern-day Andrew Carnegie who is giving us a library -improbable- it is incumbent upon the architects and the community to work together and incorporate an intelligent design that reflects the care and respect we have for the free education of our city within the budget allotted ( parking garage included-good point ). It just seems ironic to suggest the design of a building that symbolizes a community's progress and free thinking should look 19th century... Your comment only reflects the "brain dead culture" mentality that undergirds the majority of our architecture being built today... Archaic!

Hawkfan1 7 years, 1 month ago

Good Point! I think we agree. There is an obvious culture issue here an we should be involved!

Mari Aubuchon 7 years, 1 month ago

The parking garage/library plan by Gould Evans is derivative of all the other industrial-style public spaces of the past twenty years; it looks like an airport. It is also not functional with no access to KY street and far too much open and uninviting space with no purpose within the library.

The Carnegie library was vacant for years for no good reason. I still believe that, with modern upgrades, it could have been a fine children's library.

By the way, Carnegie libraries do reflect the aesthetic of their time and Carnegie's executors, but they were built in various styles.

Quoth YOUR Wiki link : "Most of the library buildings were unique, constructed in a number of styles, including Beaux-Arts, Italian Renaissance, Baroque, Classical Revival, and Spanish Colonial. Scottish Baronial was one of the styles used in Carnegie's native Scotland. Each style was chosen by the community..."

Did we get to choose or have any say in the style of this current monstrosity?

justforfun 7 years, 1 month ago

Thank god we voted on a project that is still in pencil!! How about flip the pencil over and erase the entire project all the way back to the stupid yes votes!

Waste of money!!!

By the way must be one heck of a buffer on the price to not even know what your gonna build, but know the cost.

Tom McCune 7 years, 1 month ago

What is the net additional square footage for the library? (Not including the parking garage.) I haven't studied this plan, but it looks like a parking garage project with a little bit of new library space attached to it.

ksarmychick 7 years, 1 month ago

Doens't look like much of an expansion. From the drawings it also looks like they are eliminating the basement. The only new space I see are the meeting rooms to the East of the parking garage. From the drawings I don't see why they couldn't use the current floor plan and move the books around(like the drawing shows), and MAYBE add a few meeting rooms, for a much cheeper price. I have never been to the library and seen all of the meeting rooms being used at once. I also have never been to the library-even when the outdoor pool is open-and not been able to find parking within a reasonable walking distance.

Chris Ogle 7 years, 1 month ago

Architects invite public to discuss design of $18 million Lawrence parking garage on Monday night

jayhawklawrence 7 years, 1 month ago

I thought that is why you go to Architecture School to learn how to build things.

Since when does the public start designing libraries and parking garages. This is getting out of control.

Kontum1972 7 years, 1 month ago

hmmm...would not a custom built book-mobile be alot less expensive....since most people get their info from the internet ...

Flap Doodle 7 years, 1 month ago

These are real architects with degrees, right? Not simply some poser who thinks that a lawsuit is the solution to every problem?

Blue_Falcon 7 years, 1 month ago

dude I’m going to show up to request that their design includes a special cubicle for Waka1 at the “liberry”.

I miss reading his comments. Please come back!

Richard Heckler 7 years, 1 month ago

I'm in full support of the library project. I'm lukewarm to the additional city hall parking idea.

How about if the new city commission offered to rescind the new tax and instead dedicate THIS TAX DOLLAR RESOURCE to the library for expansion and future operations:

Plan B introduces a fiscally responsible taxpayer friendly proposal. Options the city can live with which REMOVES the increase . Hats off to this concept.

The one cent sales tax that was approved in 1995 can generate up to $14,036,301 as of 2009. Obviously more in better years

The city portion of the county 1% sales tax can generate up $8,609,331 as of 2009 obviously more in better years.

The two together = $22,645,672 again obviously more in better years.

Let’s ask voters to dedicate 10% of this to finance our library reconstruction and for future operations. It makes better use of an existing sales tax and funds the library for many years to come.

Then have the city procure the lot next to the art center and build a parking garage with one top floor dedicated to the Art Center for a full blown graphics art design program backed by the Art Center Director. This top floor becomes a money maker. Forget the library parking idea.

no_thanks 7 years, 1 month ago

Of course your for it, because like everything else you support it is free to the public, but the cost is borne by others (property owners). Offering more meeting space is an incredible waste for the same reason. We have plenty of meeting space in this town, but you might have to pay to rent the space (GASP!). Offering free videos and CD's is a waste of resources, but certainly provides the type of visitation numbers the library desires to post to sure they are offering services valued by the community. On Demand, Netflix, and a host of other options are available for watching movies. If you can afford a DVD player, surely you can afford to pay for an online movie rental. Technology is making libraries obsolete, but in this town, a very small percentage of the population (I don't recall how many people voted) can make a decision that affects many. Wish our Commissioner's would have been stronger in just saying No to this expense. And, oh, just wait and see what happens with annual operating expenses. More of the Cities limited resources will be going to keep the library afloat. A

Chris Ogle 7 years, 1 month ago

merrill :

The focus of the article is on the parking garage......... get it yet? um maybe we got it the you no what again!!! oh well, so much for the lie-barry

Richard Heckler 7 years, 1 month ago

Opportunity lost

J-W editorials

July 9, 2010

The idea of using sales tax revenue to pay for at least part the proposed Lawrence Public Library expansion deserved more consideration than it received from Lawrence city commissioners Tuesday night.

Before commissioners voted to place the $18 million expansion project on November’s ballot, they were asked to consider using all or part of the city’s share of the 1 percent county sales tax to pay for the project. Using the sales tax would have reduced or eliminated the need for a 1.5-mill tax increase for 20 years to pay for library construction and a permanent 0.5-mill increase to cover additional operating costs for the new building.

Commissioners, however, dismissed the sales tax idea saying that voters who approved the sales tax expected that money to be set aside for parks and recreation projects. Although it’s true the sales tax was sold to voters at least partially on that basis, the actual ballot questions put no restrictions on how the money would be used.

However, even if the sales tax revenue was specifically restricted as being for recreation, it isn’t much of a stretch to justify the library as a recreational effort. The library may offer fewer physical activities than a recreation center, but many people certainly would consider the movies, books and other library classes and events as recreational activities. There’s no reason the sales tax needs to be permanently dedicated to building new recreation centers or playing fields especially when the city’s population isn’t growing significantly.

It would be especially appropriate to use sales tax revenue to fund the ongoing operating expenses for the larger library rather than permanently raising property taxes by 0.5 of a mill for that purpose. The 1.5-mill levy could be used for 20 years to fund the expansion and then eliminated.

Even some taxpayers who support the library expansion are concerned about increased property taxes, especially in the current economy. Shifting part of the expense of the expansion to the local sales tax might have mitigated some of that concern.

It’s too bad city commissioners weren’t willing to get a little more creative in their library financing plans.

justforfun 7 years, 1 month ago

Wow Merrill you just bored the F#$K outa all of us!! Yea and your right I didn't read a word of what you said! Nor does anyone else!!

beaujackson 7 years, 1 month ago

Bad idea. Bad plan, and a terrible waste of taxpayer's money.

Satellite library's at a fraction of the cost are the ONLY sensible solution.

The city commissioners and Lawrence taxpayers are wiling victims of an $18,000,000.00 swindle for an ugly parking garage, and a bad plan.

Wake up Lawrence. Cancel this bad dream before it becomes an $18 million dollar nightmare!

This project needs to be re-thought before it's too late!

Curtis Lange 7 years, 1 month ago

If the parking garage is such a concern, why don't they put two levels below ground and two above ground? Problem fixed.

BigPrune 7 years, 1 month ago

...the water table has to be an issue, being so close to the river. I wonder if they thought about core sampling before proposing the parking garage?

irvan moore 7 years, 1 month ago

do you really think they care what we think?

notajayhawk 7 years, 1 month ago

I know it doesn't seem to be the way you folks in Lawrence like to do things, but is it possible it would have been preferable to draw up the plans first and THEN vote on whether or not to fund it?

average 7 years, 1 month ago

Seeing that there were blueprints and sketches in the library and the mailings, it would be reasonable that most voters thought that was what had happened. I certainly thought that.

Since we obviously don't have concrete plans, we can do the cheap option. Children's collection moves to Borders, away from the homeless toilet and internet facility. Room for some additional child/parent-friendly stuff in that building. Frees up collection and meeting space in the current library. Parkade can get a vote up or down on its own. And the savings could open at least two modest satellites.

Brian Hall 7 years, 1 month ago

But that is not what was voted on. Also, when I take my child to the library is it to also get me books. Why would I want to make two stops? How are satellite libraries(!) cheaper? The city would have to buy land, build the libraries, staff them, buy books for both branches (along with the children's annex and the main branch). The city would also have to pay the upkeep fees for all 4 branches. Yes, the state kicks in a little but who knows what the next four years could bring. Also, let's not forget actually having to buy the Borders building and renovate it.

Moving half of the library to the old Borders building doesn't make sense because no matter what you are still paying for two buildings and that includes staff, books, computers, upkeep, maintenance and other things needed to run a building.

volunteer 7 years, 1 month ago

Liberry. I never hear Lawrence folks, except perhaps for small children, use that "word." Good job, schools and community.

volunteer 7 years, 1 month ago

Liberry. I never hear Lawrence folks, except perhaps for small children, use that "word." Good job, schools and community.

BigPrune 7 years, 1 month ago

The design already looks dated. Perhaps these architects should come up with something original, instead of trying to go retro. They certainly aren't the best architects for the BIG money they're making on this boondoggle.

Mari Aubuchon 7 years, 1 month ago

I could not agree more. I suggest that everyone look through Gould Evans portfolio to see the work they have done:

BigPrune 7 years, 1 month ago

Law Commons, University of Arizona looks quite like Lawrence's fancy new library design. It looks like they should be cutting their fee.

Mari Aubuchon 7 years, 1 month ago

Consider those sofas that are in the plans on the library website. Will you be sitting in those seats? Ever?

Consider all that glass. Nice in spring and fall, hot in summer, cold in winter, creepy after dark. Consider all that exposed steel? We already have plenty of concrete; add steel and we have a typical airport: a public space people can't wait to leave. Where is the human scale, where are the human-friendly building materials?

Gould Evans needs to take another look at the space and the needs of those who use it before finalizing their plans.

As a Lawrence resident for the past 25 years and, most likely , the next 25, I certainly hope they will.

BigPrune 7 years, 1 month ago

Lawrence's no expense spared Library is getting a copy cat library design.

beaujackson 7 years, 1 month ago

Satellites will save millions & will be used more.

Scrap this UGLY boondoggle and it's ugly parking garage ( for the Eldridge Hotel ).

Just because gullible people voted for this monstrosity does not make it the best choice for Lawrence.

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