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Library Officials Look for $28 Million Expansion

CLPL officials and architect present two options to City Council.

An architect the hired in February is now saying the options needed to fulfill the library's needs will cost more than $26 million.

The library hired Joe Huberty, architect with Engberg Anderson, to explore building options on the library’s current site and to assist in the preparation of an Illinois Public Library Construction Grant.

Library officials went before City Council Tuesday and said they've come up with two options, each costing more than $26 million.

The library's preferred option would give the library more flexibility and would give taxpayers a better value for their money, according to Huberty and the library. This option would cost about $28.6 million and would include site improvements, a parking structure and a number of building and equipment upgrades.

The other option would include an expansion and minimum upgrades but would still cost $26 million.

The CLPL Board hired Huberty five years after Project Shoehorn, . The project was , according to library officials.

“We are now five years into the five- to eight-year temporary fix that Shoehorn provided, and given that it will take us several years to achieve a long-term solution, we are running out of time. Many sections of the current facility have outlived their natural life span," Library Board President John Engebretson said after Huberty was hired.

If received, the Illinois Public Library Construction Grant would cover more than $7.7 million of the construction, although a decision hasn't been made about how the rest of the expansion would be funded.

CLPL conducted a Needs Assessment in 2011 with . The assessment found several "areas of weakness," including to provide the expected scope of public library service.

Bill Bulman April 09, 2012 at 12:18 PM
This is new low of wasting money. Perceived need is based on a 100 person survey which did not ask those people to pay for this largess. Do we need a 2 story parking deck or can we park on the street? There is no need for this, and considering the need for a larger library is only in the minds or the staff and volunteers, I am disappointed that there doesn't seem to be an adults on Library board or city council who viewed this proposal favorably. We need to be prudent with taxpayer money. We current spent $4.8 Million taxpayer funds annually on the library, isn't that more than enough?

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