APPLETON — Ten new architectural images of the renovated and expanded Appleton Public Library were presented to the library board on Friday, providing further insight into the $39 million project.
The design will maintain the bones of the existing building at 225 N. Oneida St., but the new facade will add three curved, glazed pavilions that will bring daylight and nature into the building. Skylights will be placed above the stairwells to bring natural light deep into the building.
The interior will feature light colors and natural wood to create a bright and welcoming atmosphere.
Senior designer Jason Fisher of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill of Chicago said beauty is only part of the equation.
“As architects, an architect myself, we always want to make things look good,” Fisher told the library board, “but we also want to make them perform well, function and last.”
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Fisher took library board members on several virtual tours of the 110,000 square foot building, illustrating how patrons would navigate through the three levels of the library.
The first floor of the library will have a common arrivals room and a 3,800 square foot community pavilion that can accommodate 400 people but with functional partitions for smaller groups.
The second floor will offer a rooftop terrace, and the lower level will have a 1,500 square foot children’s garden and a learning staircase that doubles as a performance stage.
Fisher also reviewed plans to incorporate geothermal wells for heating and cooling to reduce the building’s carbon footprint and to house a solar panel on the roof to generate electricity for the local power grid. .
Green energy was one of the attributes sought by library users during public feedback sessions on the project.
The library board on Friday approved a contract with Boulevard Relocation Services of Appleton for $264,575 to move the library’s collection to the temporary library in the former Best Buy store at 2411 S. Kensington Drive. The contract includes moving to the new library.
A competing bid from Hallett & Sons Expert Movers of Summit, Illinois totaled $572,442.
The existing library will close from April 13. The temporary library will open on May 23.
According to the plan, the renovation and expansion of the library will go out to tender in May. Construction is expected to begin in July and continue through fall 2023.
The existing library dates from 1981 and is considered outdated, inefficient and, at 86,600 square feet, undersized.
The most recent cost estimate for the library project was $39 million, nearly 50% more than the amount budgeted by the city. Elected officials remain determined to cap the local tax burden at $26.4 million in borrowing.
Appleton also set aside $2 million in federal assistance from the American Rescue Plan Act for broadband access at the library, bringing the amount available to $28.4 million.
Mayor Jake Woodford said the gap between the cost estimate of $39 million and $28.4 million will have to be filled by securing grants and private donations or reducing the scope of the project.
The Friends of Appleton Public Library hired consultants who recommended the group launch a $12 million fundraising campaign to support the project.