Brookfield’s village board is poised to vote on the final development plan for a new Brookfield Public Library building next week.
But while Village President Kit Ketchmark appeared to signal that a vote of the village trustees would be a formality, there could be concerns that conditions for recommending the plan suggested by the village’s Planning and Zoning Commission in October might pose a problem.
“We are looking at a particular project in front of us,” Ketchmark said. “The village of Brookfield is not funding a new library; we’re not building a new library. It is not up to us to decide whether or not we need a new library.”
Ketchmark’s remarks came Nov. 9 at the village board’s Committee of the Whole meeting, where library officials and their architect, Michael Mackey, presented the final planned development to village trustees.
The village’s Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the somewhat scaled-back final plan in October. However, its approval came with a list of conditions, some of which the library can easily incorporate into its plan and some of which may be more difficult.
The Brookfield Public Library Board of Trustees is hoping to build a new two-story facility at 3542 Park Ave. on property the library purchased from Brookfield United Methodist Church in 2012.
The final plans call for a roughly 32,000-square-foot, Prairie-style building across Lincoln Avenue from the present library, which would be razed to create a 39-space parking lot.
Library officials estimate that a new library facility will cost between $12 million and $14 million. To date, the library has amassed about $3.8 million in a special capital reserve for the project.
Planning and zoning commissioners recommended approval but suggested a significant design change and mandated the use of sustainable elements the library was not necessarily planning on using.
One of the conditions included reducing the size of the new library’s tower feature, a suggestion that came from Charles Grund, the chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission. Grund had criticized the massing of the tower, adding that it needed to include transparent features.
While adding transparent features might not be a problem, redesigning the tower would be a major design change.
The commission also required using recycled materials for carpeting and furniture and adding a car-charging station in the new parking lot.
In response to comments from planning and zoning commissioners to include those elements into the plan, Mackey on Nov. 9 outlined sustainable aspects included in his design for the village board.
It is unclear whether the village board plans on imposing the same conditions on the library that the Planning and Zoning Commission suggested.
Village Manager Keith Sbiral on Monday said the ordinance being presented to the village board for approval at their Nov. 23 meeting would mirror the recommendations made by the Planning and Zoning Commission. However, village trustees have latitude to amend the commission’s recommendations if they desire.
Village Trustee Michelle Ryan lamented that the library chose not to seek LEED certification for the new library, saying it was an opportunity for a local governmental body to lead on sustainable design.
“I hope we don’t wait until the village hall is rebuilt to institute progressive standards,” Ryan said.
Mackey argued that the library design took into account sustainable practices and that LEED certification was cost-prohibitive.
“I think it’s a good opportunity if funding is available,” Mackey said. “Otherwise, it’s additional cost to the library.”
Also on Nov. 9, Mackey confirmed that the library was looking at a November 2016 referendum question. If successful, construction on the new library would begin in the spring of 2017.
The first phase of construction would include building the new facility and any other work contemplated north of Lincoln Avenue. The present library would remain open during construction of a new facility.
After the first phase, which is expected to last between 12 and 14 months, the library would move its collection and offices to the new building, a process expected to take about a month.
Following that, phase two of construction — closing Lincoln Avenue, demolishing the existing library and constructing the parking lot — would take about 4-5 months. The third phase of construction would be to pave the alley east of the new library.