Future Lombard library could be bigger than originally planned

Lombard library officials are expected to decide next week whether to spend an extra $3 million on a new facility to make it larger than originally planned and add a basement.

Voters in November 2016 supported a property tax increase after Helen M. Plum Memorial Library officials promised to tear down the existing building at 110 W. Maple St. and construct a new one.

Still, it's going to be months before a formal application for the project is submitted to the village.

Right now, the proposal calls for constructing a roughly 50,000-square-foot facility with two linked pavilions. It's estimated to cost $21.5 million.

Before the design phase, the library's architects want to know if a basement and 3,000 additional square feet of space will be added to the project. Each of the two options would add an extra $1.5 million to the project's overall cost.

Under the existing proposal, the east pavilion would feature two floors on land the library entirely owns, but just one floor on land where the 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.

If library officials decide to increase the size of he facility, a total of roughly 3,000 square feet of public space would be added to both pavilions.

If a basement is added, it would be located under the west pavilion. It would house the facility's mechanicals and provide storage space.

Library spokeswoman Sue Wilsey said the library board is expected to make a decision on the extra square footage and the basement during its regular meeting on Tuesday, June 12.

"They want to have a presentation from the financial advisers indicating how much money we already have in reserve that could be allocated toward that extra expense," Wilsey said.

No matter what is decided, Wilsey stressed there won't be an additional tax increase for property owners. "There's absolutely no way we'd increase taxes," Wilsey said.

Before the plan is formally submitted, the library is planning to host a series of public meetings so residents can get a preview of the design and provide feedback.

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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