Archive for Wednesday, November 2, 2011

City leaders approve plans for library expansion

Rendering of Lawrence Public Library plaza view of southwest corner.

Rendering of Lawrence Public Library plaza view of southwest corner.

November 2, 2011


A see-through parking garage and a terra cotta-inspired library sound like a good beginning to the next chapter of an expanded Lawrence Public Library.

The parking garage to be built south of the renovated Lawrence Public Library is shown in this architect’s rendering. The garage will hold 250 cars. Its design incorporates a space to hang banners.

The parking garage to be built south of the renovated Lawrence Public Library is shown in this architect’s rendering. The garage will hold 250 cars. Its design incorporates a space to hang banners.

Rendering of Lawrence Public Library entry on the south side. This view shows the southeast corner looking to the northwest.

Rendering of Lawrence Public Library entry on the south side. This view shows the southeast corner looking to the northwest.

Commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting unanimously approved “concept plans” for a $19 million expansion of the public library, including the idea of a parking garage covered by a perforated steel mesh and a library with an entirely new facade.

“I think for the money we’re spending, we’re getting a tremendous signature facility,” said Mayor Aron Cromwell.

Tuesday’s approval allows Lawrence-based Gould Evans architects to draw up more specific plans that ultimately can be put out for bid in about the next seven months.

Many of the design basics have been set by what library leaders promised voters during last November’s election: 20,000 square feet of new space, a doubling of children’s area space, a doubling of space for meeting rooms, space for 100 additional public computers and a parking garage for at least 250 cars.

But details about how the building and parking garage at Seventh and Vermont streets actually will look have drawn more discussion from neighbors and the city’s library board.

Specifically, there are two major design elements related to the exterior. Plans call for the parking garage, which would be at least 3.5 stories tall, to have a perforated steel or aluminum exterior that would be unique in downtown. Architects said they were recommending the material because it would allow light and air to better enter the garage.

On the library itself, architects are proposing that a new exterior shell be built for the entire existing library building. The new exterior design includes large amounts of terra cotta stone and an almost random pattern of long, horizontal windows. Architects said their studies found that new exterior walls were the best way to improve the energy efficiency of the approximately 40-year-old building.

“We found that the energy loads of the building can be greatly reduced if we provide a new skin for the building,” said Jane Huesemann, an architect with Gould Evans.

Commissioners approved the design on a 5-0 vote, but Commissioner Mike Amyx did ask several questions about the choice of the exterior materials. Amyx said he wanted more assurances from architects that the materials would hold up and had been well-tested on other projects.

“I just want to make sure that when I look at the building 25 years from now that I’m proud to say my thumbprint is on that building,” Amyx said.

Huesemann said architects were confident in the materials, saying that the terra cotta was similar to brick and would provide the city with an easy-to-maintain exterior for a reasonable price.

Commissioners also briefly touched on two other issues: how large the adjacent parking garage should be and whether the library should move out of the building to an as-yet-undermined location while renovation work is under way. On both issues, commissioners agreed to decide later.

Commissioners will get more information about the cost of adding another level — or about 75 spaces — to the garage when the project goes out for bids. On the issue of temporarily moving, commissioners asked for a report from city staff on how much such a move may save in time and money on the project.

In other business, commissioners:

• Unanimously directed staff to move ahead with plans to begin a program that would allow small-scale farmers to use vacant city property for crop production.

• Unanimously approved an agreement with Kansas City-based Ripple Glass to set up at least four glass recycling bins in the community.


Jayhawker07 6 years, 6 months ago

I believe that the Library should move to the riverfront mall and stay there. Like it should have been. We as homeowners got screwed on that vote. We could of bought the whole kit and kabootle for a few mil. with a parking garage. And part of it is city owned too! It will never be as good as KU's Libraray. Ever!

SeaFox 6 years, 6 months ago

Where would you put the library? You make it sound like the mall building is still sitting there empty. You have two businesses already resident on the first and third floor of the western side. I'm not sure if Knology still holds the second floor but Sunflower had an expansion down there at one point, so there goes the entire Western side. We have a hotel taking up the entire center section, and I'm not sure what's going on in the East wing. There was a clinic of some sort there on one floor last I remember.

Are you suggesting the library be split into the Eastern end and a piece on the Western side, with the Hotel in the middle. Seriously, there isn't really enough vacancy for the entire library to move into there.

Also, you should know the entire building is sliding into the river. The elevator is out of service more than it should be because the shaft is out of square because of this issue. That building isn't going to be a long term home for anyone.

Brian Hall 6 years, 6 months ago

If KU ever needs something for their library they can ask the state, they can ask for donations from their alumni, they can raise tuition. The city can't do that. The city could ask the state but the answer, at least with this administration, would be a resounding guffaw. The city can ask for donations from the Lawrence population or interested library groups but that would maybe bring in half of the 19 million. I think it's amazing at how many people on this forum always complain about stuff in Lawrence but when they have to raise taxes to attempt to fix it they complain about that. That's what cities do and have to do to compete with surrounding cities. If you feel you can run the city better then run for city commission.

Pastor_Bedtime 6 years, 6 months ago

Most butt-ugly design ever. Simply horrible looking.

LadyJ 6 years, 6 months ago

Just wondering if the perforated steel mesh will allow snow to build up inside that will have to be removed. Also, I know the city parking garage downtown had a full time maintenance employee/staff in charge of it. Will this garage also need a staff?

Cant_have_it_both_ways 6 years, 6 months ago

You know the numbers on the additional funding to support the expanded library and the new parking garage are part of the misinformation campaign on actual costs. The city will just add staff and equipment to maintain the garage. The library will most likely ask for double its funding and a full time IT guy to maintain the 150 vagrent computers. Just the costs alone to upgrade virus scanners and the like will be a huge cost to the taxpayer, not to mention the additional maintenance staff, janitorial staff, window cleaning, lawn care and management staff for the additional rooms and services.

Simply amazing, you cant put up a sign more than what 20 feet high, but the city can build a butt ugly building and parking garage for 3.5 stories. Go figure.

skinny 6 years, 6 months ago

The new library is a total waste of money. Everything is going digital!

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 6 months ago

Watch your water bills! The city is scheming to get a trash company that will give kickback to the city to finance their damned foolishness. You will pay and pay for this one.

irvan moore 6 years, 6 months ago

it's interesting that they don't show any pictures that show the library behind and in the shadow of the new parking garage.

Dar_of_the_Emerites 6 years, 6 months ago

Yes, the new library is Idiotic least the parking garage is anyway. I've never seen the existing lot so full that I had to park on the street. Even on the hottest days when the pool was packed. 19 mil huh? maybe they could upgrade the vagrant CPUs and they wouldn't be vagrant ne more. Maybe some new books...or maybe that money could improve the schools? And I don't mean football fields and stadium seating! That was just as retarded as this library thing...perhaps more of the streets could be improved? Pretty much need a friggin rally car to navigate some the roads here...refurbishing a small part of "the square" isn't enuff. I could do this all day...

Liberty275 6 years, 6 months ago

1990 called. They want their rendering software back. Also, when you shoop in people, their shadows should be parallel.

deec 6 years, 6 months ago

Thanks for pointing out the shadow thing; I hadn't noticed. Very unusual sun activity going on, apparently.

roadwarrior 6 years, 6 months ago

we want to improve the library so we're gonna close it .

Don Whiteley 6 years, 6 months ago

Because of the economy, we're closing schools, firing teachers, and reducing support to the poor and elderly. What a perfect time for our city to fund a parking garage!!! Sometimes, I can't believe the insanity of the liveral vote.

irvan moore 6 years, 6 months ago

i am a regular user of the library, like it and appreciate the services it provides. i don't think a parking garage for downtown should have been part of a library bond, pretty sure it wouldn't have passed on its own.

50YearResident 6 years, 6 months ago

A see through parking garage? How far will you be able to see through when the bottom level is full of parked cars?

kansasplains 6 years, 6 months ago

I continue to say that small, branch libraries all over town would be a better deal than one central library. These centers could open with the most popular materials, and other materials could always be ordered from the more central branch. That way people everywhere could have a library not too far from where they live. Each library could also serve as a DMV station (such as AAA does in California) and people could work with another staff person to apply for work, etc. There could also be computer instruction at all the mini-libraries. It makes a lot more sense than to try to go to one library as it now will be.

These might even be a separate part of schools that could open evenings and on Saturday and Sunday.

Trobs 6 years, 6 months ago

Where are the all the supporters of the library now that we have a plan drawn up?

jafs 6 years, 6 months ago

Where were all of the opponents when it was put to a vote?

I voted against it, by the way.

Reuben Turner 6 years, 6 months ago

well i be.....I'm reading a whole lot of negative comments. I'm just willing to bet, that most the people complaining didn't cast a vote at all. Whether you like it or not the library is soon coming, so just get over it. alls i know, is that the city library will never measure up to the KU library and that I will still go when I need something from it. I voted!!!

Commenting has been disabled for this item.