Lombard library officials add basement to building plan

A new library proposed for Lombard now will include a basement, but officials are balking at any other changes to make the facility larger.

Helen M. Plum Memorial Library officials later this year are planning to seek permission from the village to demolish the building at 110 W. Maple St. and replace it with a roughly 50,000-square-foot facility with two linked pavilions.

But before a formal application for the project is submitted, the library's architect must complete final designs.

This week, library officials said they have instructed the architect to add a basement to the project. However, they said an additional 3,000 square feet of space won't be added to the facility.

"We have a direction," library board President Jason Brandt said. "We're moving forward with this two-pavilion plan. We're finalizing the design requirements for our architect. We want to be able to put the best plan forward to the plan commission and the village so we can get approval and start construction."

During a Tuesday night board discussion, library Director Barb Kruser said building designs and cost estimates are expected to be available in September. It's anticipated the plan commission will begin its review around November - a full two years after voters approved a property tax increase for the project.

Under the existing proposal, the east pavilion will feature two floors on land the library entirely owns, but just one floor on land where Lombard Park District has air rights. An existing plaza deck would be rebuilt.

Meanwhile, the new library's west pavilion would be two floors and include a large meeting room and a space for teens. An enclosed walkway would connect it to the other pavilion.

The plan is to locate the basement under the west pavilion to house the facility's mechanicals and provide storage space.

Brandt said the benefit of having mechanicals in the basement include longevity of the equipment, easier access for maintenance and improved aesthetics because the equipment won't be on the outside the facility.

Adding the basement is expected to add an extra $1.5 million to the project's overall cost, which currently is estimated at $21.5 million.

Library officials said reserve cash will be used to pay for the basement and there won't be an additional tax increase for property owners.

Before the plan is formally submitted to the village, library officials are hoping to address the issue of parking. Since the new library is going to be larger than the existing building, it must add more parking spaces.

"We're exploring different options for additional parking," Kruser said.

Brandt said he believes the library will need a parking variance from the village. "We're trying to ask for the minimum variance that we could ask for," he said.

The library is planning to host a series of public meetings in September or October so residents can get a preview of the design and provide feedback.

Library Trustee Gary Brenniman said his hope is that residents will rally to support the proposal when it's reviewed by the village.

"We need to have a new library," Brenniman said. "If we don't get a new library, this old library here is falling apart. It's a waste of money to be putting all kinds of money into keeping this library going. So something's got to be done."

If the village approves the project, the west pavilion would be built first. Once it's complete, the staff and materials would be relocated there until the existing library is demolished and rebuilt.

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