Lombard residents to get peek at new library plans

Nearly two years after Lombard voters approved a tax increase for a new library, officials have lifted the curtain on the latest design of the proposed facility.

Helen M. Plum Memorial Library board members on Thursday reviewed floor plans and drawings for the roughly 50,000-square-foot structure, which would replace the existing library in downtown. They also learned the project is expected to cost $23.8 million, slightly more than originally estimated.

A formal application for the project is expected to be submitted to the village by the end of the year. In the meantime, the library will host three public meeting so residents can see the plan. The first is scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at the library, 110 W. Maple St.

"We're going to get input from residents," library board President Jason Brandt said. "Hopefully, we'll get good feedback from that. Then we'll submit the final plans to the village."

Voters in November 2016 supported a property tax increase after library officials promised to tear down the existing building and construct a new one.

But the project stalled when the library sought the park district's permission to build more than one story on land that once was part of Lilacia Park. The park district had given the library land for previous expansions but retained the air rights.

Facing public pressure, library officials earlier this year announced they were moving ahead with a plan that doesn't encroach on the park's air rights. The proposal calls for constructing a facility with two linked pavilions.

As part of the project, the east pavilion will feature two floors on land the library entirely owns, but just one floor on land where the park district has air rights. An existing plaza deck will be rebuilt.

The library's west pavilion would be two floors and include an area for teens, a large meeting room and a basement. It also would have a drive-up service window.

While the proposed facility looks different from what was advertised before the referendum, Brandt said it will offer the same services.

"I think we're hitting on all the different things we talked about during the referendum," he said.

Shaun Kelly, an architect with Engberg Anderson, said the community engagement process and coordination with the park district must be done before the library can submit an application to the village.

"Those are really key steps that we can can't shortchange," he said.

In addition to Wednesday's public meeting, the library has scheduled open house-style meetings for noon to 6 p.m. Oct. 18 and 1 to 5 p.m. Nov. 4.

When Lombard's plan commission reviews the project, the library will request several variances for parking and setbacks.

If the village approves the project, construction of the west pavilion is expected to start in August 2019 and be completed in July 2020.

"The way the building is positioned, we would be able to almost entirely build the west plaza without disturbing any of the existing library," said Jason Goike of Frederick Quinn Corporation, the construction management firm for the project.

Once that pavilion is done, the staff and materials would be moved there until the existing library is demolished and rebuilt. Construction of the east pavilion is expected to be completed in August 2021.

The final step will be to finish the inside of the west pavilion.

"The west building will operate as the interim library during the first phase of the project," Kelly said. "So we'll have to go back in and convert it into its intended use."

The plan is to have the entire project done by December 2021.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.