Archive for Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Library project moves forward

Rendering of the Lawrence Public Library, as seen from Vermont Street.

Rendering of the Lawrence Public Library, as seen from Vermont Street.

October 2, 2012


Rendering of the Lawrence Public Library, as seen from the southwest plaza.

Rendering of the Lawrence Public Library, as seen from the southwest plaza.

Rending of the Lawrence Public Library, as seen from the Outdoor Aquatic Center on Kentucky Street.

Rending of the Lawrence Public Library, as seen from the Outdoor Aquatic Center on Kentucky Street.

Let’s get ready to build.

Lawrence city commissioners on Tuesday saw the latest designs for a $19 million expansion of the Lawrence Public Library and put the project on track to begin construction by mid-November.

“We really wanted to make this a signature public building,” said City Commissioner Aron Cromwell. “All the elements really have come to play here. It will have a public-square feeling to it.”

The design for the library, though, looks different than when it was unveiled by library leaders last year. The building still uses large amounts of terra-cotta stone, but the new design uses more glass at the corners of the building and along Vermont Street.

“I think it is a design that is very open,” said Sean Zaudke, an architect with Lawrence-based Gould Evans. “We want a design that explains how the library can support the community.”

The main way it does so is by letting the community see into the library. The new design put a particular emphasis on making the youth and teen rooms of the library on public display by making them visible from Vermont Street.

The inside of the building also will include fewer walls and more wide-open spaces, Zaudke said. Several reading rooms will be on the perimeter of the building, with larger, more bustling rooms near the building’s main entrance at the southeast corner of the building. Smaller, individual reading rooms will be on the west and north sides of the building.

City commissioners also got their most detailed look yet at the parking garage design. Plans still call for a perforated metal skin to cover most of the garage, although glass towers to house stairways and an elevator also will be used.

“We really want to make the interior environment of the garage as open and light-filled and ventilated as possible,” Zaudke said.

The parking garage will be the first part of the project under construction. Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously agreed to seek bids for 18 different bid packages, ranging from concrete to steel work, for the garage. Bids are expected to be approved by Nov. 6, and work would begin by Nov. 15.

Architects hope construction of the garage will be completed by June. Work on the library itself isn’t expected to begin until February. April 2014 is the tentative completion date for the project.

Commissioners on Tuesday left their options open regarding how large the parking garage will be. The new garage will include at least 250 spaces — up from the 125 spaces currently provided in the library’s surface parking lot. Commissioners also are considering adding an additional level that would provide another 72 parking spaces but are still considering ways to pay for the project. The bids for the parking garage will include amounts both with and without the extra level.

In other news, commissioners:

l Balked at the idea of allowing $695,000 in land acquisition costs to be reimbursed through a tax increment financing district for a proposed hotel development at Ninth and New Hampshire streets.

The development group, led by Lawrence businessmen Doug Compton and Mike Treanor, had sought to have the costs to purchase the land added to the list of items eligible for reimbursement through the TIF district.

But commissioners said it was too late in the process to bring up the request. A representative of the development group said the hotel project will continue on without the reimbursement.


Carol Bowen 5 years, 6 months ago

This design is better. It's hard to imagine how this will work with the parking ramp. At least the commissioners seem to be moving forward cautiously.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 6 months ago

Face it folks the Chamber of Commerce and the City Commission promote tax dollar mooching.

They have little regard for what little expendable cash 99% of taxpayers still can call their own.

The Chamber of Commerce should consider funding it's own way instead of leeching off the taxpayers. It seems an organization led by the wealthiest business people in town should be able to work that out. Aren't wealthy business people assumed to know how to manage money? and sustain their own ventures?

Low interest rates encourage city governments to borrow in a rather reckless manner so I read.

The end result are expanded city budgets with no substantial new money coming in to back up larger tax dollar debt demands.

Rex Hargis 5 years, 6 months ago

Wilbur - $45 million? Way way more than that.

LogicMan 5 years, 6 months ago

That exterior looks straight out of the late 1950s, like Herman Miller's furniture. Not my cup of tea.

chicago95 5 years, 6 months ago

Agreed. This exterior seems unimaginative, even retrograde. In that sense it seems consistent with the mid-20th century conceptual/functional design that we saw last year. Is this the fault of the architects or the board?

Topple 5 years, 6 months ago

I was thinking the exact same thing...looks like an old bowling alley.

50YearResident 5 years, 6 months ago

That has to be the ugliest parking garage ever concieved. It looks more like a Dock for shipping. Stilts to hold it above the waterline.

Greg Walter 5 years, 6 months ago

Ok, hear me out, this building is perfect for downtown. If your going to build a new building it shouldn't try to look old, it should stand out and show that its new. I am glad the architect knew this and echoed the want that Lawrence has to be a great modern city with a long historical background. The new library will in no way hurt the downtown area, in my opinion the new buildings along New Hampshire that tried to look like the older stylings of downtown look worse than this. Keep in mind that good architects know that if your building wasn't from the time period your in now then don't try and make it look like it was from there, you will fail horribly and create an eyesore that will last forever.

chicago95 5 years, 6 months ago

I respectfully disagree. A good architect can integrate a new building into its neighborhood by quoting a few motifs from its immediate surroundings, but the library is supposed to be a "signature public building." I really don't see it. It looks like they just extrapolated the worst of the surrounding designs. It should have, among other things, a visually strong and inviting entrance. From the drawing, this building looks like it might as well be another Local Burger.

irvan moore 5 years, 6 months ago

i appreciate the commissioners saying no to the tif, i'm amazed, i never thought it would happen. thanks commissioners

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

Me too.

Very surprised, but pleased.

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

Yes, but it could have been worse, if they'd allowed them to include the land purchase as well.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

"Would HRC approve that type of building to be built as retail downtown?"

What about the SE corner of 9th and NH?

Nuff said.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

Correction-- SW corner, although I doubt that the SE or NE corners will be any better.

KS 5 years, 6 months ago

First class UGLY! Can't say it any plainer! Who the heck designs this stuff anyway?

KS 5 years, 6 months ago

Look at the folks walking on the grass. Put a sidewalk there. Goes along with the mentality of the designer. UGLY.

justoneperson 5 years, 6 months ago

I don't have an issue with letting in natural light, and I tend to like more open looking spaces. However, I have to wonder, in the middle of the summer, with the sun beating down and the temps in the upper 90s or higher, what will that AC bill look like?

lawrencechick 5 years, 6 months ago

It reminds me of Wescoe Hall and that's not a good thing. This design does not fit in with downtown at all.

littlebit82 5 years, 6 months ago

I think it's an interesting design, but I do think they should have done something more old-fashioned to match the cool, old buildings downtown.

littlebit82 5 years, 6 months ago

I definitely agree that the post office needs a face lift next! And, you are right, much better than it is now. I guess a little variety in architecture keeps things interesting.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 6 months ago

I've always liked ATTs tower. It looked better with the dishes in it.

MarcoPogo 5 years, 6 months ago

I hope they put in a conversation pit with a fireplace in the middle.

MartyT 5 years, 6 months ago

Wow, it looks like mansard mania is back.

Kansas_Girl 5 years, 6 months ago

Keep in mind that this is a "wrap around" addition which is limited in its ability to change the architecture style. There are also "fins" that surround the building that I believe can not be removed.

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