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City Hall

City Hall

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

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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.

Comments

Kansas_Girl 1 year, 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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MartyT 1 year, 6 months ago

Wow, it looks like mansard mania is back.

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oneeye_wilbur 1 year, 6 months ago

commissioners and mayor have not guts to tighten the bids and get more for the buck. Why? It's not their money! Don't think for a minute that mayor schummb wouldn't question bids on remodel of his property?

This fluff is exactly that. Will the new building remodel have a built in vacum and hoses to clean the bathroooms with?

Overpriced fluff, thanks to gutless commissioners who sit around and stroke each other as if something big is happening.

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MarcoPogo 1 year, 6 months ago

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

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littlebit82 1 year, 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.

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lawrencechick 1 year, 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.

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justoneperson 1 year, 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?

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Mike Myers 1 year, 6 months ago

Ok, I'm going to say it again. Yikes!

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KS 1 year, 6 months ago

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

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KS 1 year, 6 months ago

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

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Steven Gaudreau 1 year, 6 months ago

Why do new city buildings always have to look contemporary? Would HRC approve that type of building to be built as retail downtown? No flipping way. Why not build a stone structure that looks historic with aesthetics that will stand the test of time? This thing is ugly and will be outdated the day it's built.

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Keith Richards 1 year, 6 months ago

They didn't say no to the TIF, they said no to the land purchase being included in the TIF. They are still getting $12 million to reimburse infrastructure and a parking garage.

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irvan moore 1 year, 6 months ago

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

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LogicMan 1 year, 6 months ago

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

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traveler12 1 year, 6 months ago

The major failure of the Lawrence Public Library [expansion] was its inability to approve or build satellite locations. Yes we will build athletic centers across town, but we must still go downtown to borrow books. Sad state of affairs for a city of nearly 100,000 residents.

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Rex Hargis 1 year, 6 months ago

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

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 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.

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oneeye_wilbur 1 year, 6 months ago

And the 72 spaces can be added if the commisioners have the guts to tighten the bidding. Do they?

The US sends 45 millio overseas And we squander almostnhalf that much on a building that can be done for $15 million. A $19million dollar project that will be dirty in 12months.

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Carol Bowen 1 year, 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.

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