Cost estimates prepared for the Lawrence City Commission confirm that temporarily moving the Lawrence Public Library to the former Borders building at Seventh and New Hampshire makes sense both practically and financially.
At their Tuesday meeting, city commissioners will be asked to approve a 20-month lease on the Borders property with an option to extend the lease for six months if unexpected complications arise. The cost of leasing the Borders building and moving the library operations there are almost entirely offset by the reduced construction costs. The library’s materials and operations would have to be moved probably eight times from one part of the current building to another to facilitate construction, and keeping the building open to the public would require temporary partitions and sidewalks.
After evaluating all the cost estimates from architects and the construction manager for the library project, city staff has determined it will cost about $69,000 more to move the library to another site during construction, an amount that can be covered by money in the project’s contingency fund. In exchange, the city may cut as much as four months off the library construction period (from 18 to 14 months, according to the construction manager) while also providing better public parking and pedestrian access to the library’s collection and services.
The construction period still is bound to cause considerable inconvenience for both library patrons and staff, but the move to an off-site location is the best option for the city.