Lombard officials get first look at Plum Memorial Library designs

Plans are moving ahead for a new Helen M. Plum Memorial Library in Lombard.

Architectural renderings and floor plans of the proposed $27.8 million building were shared Wednesday during a virtual library board of trustees meeting.

Shaun Kelly, an architect with Engberg Anderson, led the discussion and fielded questions on the many features of the two-story, 50,000-square-foot library. The building is planned for the sites of the former Mr. Z's Supermarket at 401 S. Main St., a small professional building next door at 425 S. Main St. and an adjacent easement.

Kelly touted the new library's expanded meeting and study rooms, including first-floor meeting spaces on the north side of the building that can open up to an outdoor plaza. He also highlighted a drop-off and pickup lane on the east side of the building, near the main parking lot.

The new library also is putting a focus on youth. A large children's section is to anchor the bulk of main floor, while the second floor will feature a teen services area with its own computer section and young adult literature.

In addition, Kelly highlighted the glassy lobby known as "The Hub," with a vending cafe area and an exhibition gallery. A second-floor computer lab will feature technology training programs for adults.

Library trustees peppered Kelly with questions about handicapped accessibility, interior decor and security. Kelly also emphasized that the designers are still having discussions with staff about details ranging from color schemes to lighting fixtures.

The new library faced a number of delays after voters approved a property tax increase in 2016. The new building initially was to be constructed at 110 W. Maple St., the site of the existing library.

But agreements could not be worked out with the Lombard Park District over issues tied to neighboring Lilac Park.

Library officials are promoting the new centralized location in Lombard, despite the $2.655 million cost to acquire the land.

Officials say the library won't need to spend an estimated $1.5 million to modify, move into and lease an interim location. Instead, the existing library building will remain in use until construction of the Main Street location is completed.

The purchase of the land is contingent upon the library getting zoning approvals from the village.

If the village approves the plans, library officials hope to begin demolition of the vacant buildings in spring of 2021. Construction can then begin in the summer, with the planned opening set for fall of 2022.

"It's a long time coming and it's exciting," library spokeswoman Sue Wilsey said. "In these trying times, the community has something to look forward to as far as this infrastructure project."

The proposed Helen M. Plum Memorial Library in Lombard would have a drive-through lane for book drop-off and pickup on the east side of the building. Courtesy of Engberg Anderson Architects
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