Construction work for a $19 million expansion of the Lawrence Public Library is still scheduled to begin before the end of this year.
Library director Brad Allen said the design of the library is expected to move into a new phase by mid-August.
“We’re quickly getting to the point where we won’t be moving walls around on paper anymore,” Allen said. “They’ll start drawing the construction documents.”
The general aspects of the library expansion remain the same as what was presented to voters in November 2010:
• A 20,000-square-foot expansion and renovation of all existing library space.
• A doubling of the amount of children’s room space, including a separate space for young adults.
• A three-level parking garage to be built on a portion of the library’s current parking lot.
• A doubling of meeting room space.
• New space for 100 additional public access computers.
A question that remains, Allen said, is whether the library will seek to move into temporary space while the library undergoes expansion, rather than asking patrons to excuse the mess of construction crews. Allen said he supports the idea of moving to a temporary location.
“It would be better for the people we serve to not be in this building while construction is under way,” Allen said. “If we are here, it basically will be constant shifting and change. And basically, we won’t have any parking at the site either.”
But Allen said it is still unclear whether the library can afford to move into temporary space. The city is hopeful the expansion could be completed more quickly — and perhaps for less money — if the library vacated the space. But Allen said those savings created by a move likely will need to be enough to pay for lease payments and other expenses related to a temporary location.
“There are no funds outside the bond issue for us to do any of that,” Allen said.
The city’s construction manager on the project, Lawrence-based B.A. Green Construction, currently is studying how much the city may save in construction costs by vacating the facility.