Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Facility study nears homestretch

Our building study, underway since February by Durrant with Himmel & Wilson, is nearly complete. Where we’re at:

  • Just to review: Appleton Public Library currently has about 87,000 square feet. The consultant study says we should have 118,000 right now and will need 138,000 for 20 year growth.
  • The last consultant's report recommended -- and reaction from both the public and the Library Board Building Committee provided confirmation -- that neither a branch nor a minimal 12,000 sq. ft. addition to the existing building are viable options. This leaves either a new building or a significant expansion of the current structure as the only choices. Either way, it will involve some additional real estate.
  • We've asked our consultants to delineate the pros and cons of expansion vs. new building in their final recommendations, due June 30
  • Staff recommended, and the Library Board has approved, a request of $818,000 for Radio Frequency Identification and an automated materials handling system in our 2009 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) budget request to the City. This was part of the consultant recommendations, but frankly, we've requested it in previous years. Building concerns and the continued growth in use without growth in staff give this a new urgency. It's a lot of money, but the improvements in service. security and cost-saving potential are also considerable. More on this later!
  • Staff is planning an additional, as yet unspecified, building CIP request for 2009 and subsequent years to address building needs. We know that the consultant recommendation will suggest some action, but until we have specifics, it's too soon to prepare a specific budget request. We'll have it for next month's Library Board meeting, though.
  • We think the 2009 request should include architectural program design -- conceptual design for space planning and cost estimates, not the creation of detailed construction plans.
  • Possibly -- depending on consultant recommendation and Library Board decision -- we'd also request 2009 funds for a site selection process.
  • We've planned an additional informal meeting with consultants next week, as a preliminary assessment & reality check before they make their final report.
  • We expect the final consultant report by June 30. Any recommendations from the consultants go first to the Library Board. Any recommendations from the Library Board go next to the Mayor. Any recommendations from the Mayor go finally to the Council for the budget decision process.

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

I find this interesting. Is the city/library considering that WiFi and RFID is being researched regarding Sick Building Syndrome? Yes, I know --- people laugh at that idea... like people used to laugh if someone said cigarettes were dangerous or that radiation might be harmful (just duck under a desk, right?). You can find a lot of studies that have made correlations between these radio waves and illness ("Electromagnetic hypersensitivity: biological effects of dirty electricity with emphasis on diabetes and multiple sclerosis" for one, a Trent University study from 2006).