Brookfield Public Library trustees on Aug. 22 settled on a formal design concept for a new facility to be built on library-owned land at 3541 Park Ave., with the site of the present library slated to be converted into a parking lot.
The concept was one of the two so-called “7-7-7” designs presented by the architectural firm Product Architecture and Design, meaning it calls for a rectangular-shaped building of 7,000 square feet on each of three floors – a basement level and two above-ground levels.
Such a building would provide a facility that has about 60 percent more space than the present 13,000-square-foot library, packed into a building shape that is more conducive to library programming.
The estimated cost of the preferred plan is about $9.7 million. Library trustees chose the plan from a group of four plans presented to them by architect Dan Pohrte on Aug. 14, ranging in cost from $9.5 million to $11.4 million.
According to conceptual floor plans for the preferred design provided by Pohrte, the lower level would house staff offices and a large, flexible meeting room capable of holding at least 100 people.
In addition to the circulation desk, the first floor would house the Youth Services Department, with an activity area and separate storytime room, along with stacks for youth fiction and non-fiction books and tables.
The second floor would house the Adult Services Department, a number of small quiet study rooms, a larger quiet study/periodical room, a room for teens and a maker space.
The preferred plan also prioritizes outdoor greenspace. The rectangular building’s principal façade will face Park Avenue, with entry at the southwest corner, and it will either be placed closer to the street or to the alley.
In either arrangement, a 50-foot wide area is available for greenspace either in front of or behind the building. If the building is placed closer to the alley, the green space in front would become part of a formal entry plaza that could also be used for programming.
If the building is placed closer to the street, the 7,500 square feet of green space might be able to be fenced in and used for outdoor programming, particularly for youth services.
Trustees also preferred a parking lot plan that includes parking for 22 vehicles and 6,500 square feet of green space at the point of the triangle formed by Lincoln Avenue and Grand Boulevard, providing an even more appealing visual approach to the new building.
Moreover, the design – depending on where the building is placed on the lot — would allow the library board to expand the building by between 8,400 and 12,600 square feet in the future, if the need arises.
At the library board’s next meeting on Sept. 26, Pohrte said he will provide architectural renderings to give trustees a better idea of how the building will look based on its position on the site.
The architectural firm will also begin working with the village and with its engineering consultants to nail down parking and storm water detention requirements and survey utilities in order to firm up cost estimates for the project.
Pohrte said a firm cost estimate may be available by the board’s meeting at the end of October.
For a building costing between $9.7 and $9.9 million, said Library Director Kimberly Coughran, the annual debt service on a 15-year unsecured bank loan is predicted to be between $400,000 and $450,000.
The total amount of the loan is expected to be around $3.9 million, but that could change depending on how successful the library’s ongoing capital campaign turns out. The library has no plans to seek funding via referendum after getting turned back on that front in 2016.
In the meantime, library official continue to work with their financial consultant on securing funding and, behind the scenes, to raise money from private benefactors through a newly created nonprofit foundation.
Over the years through annual fund transfers, the library has saved about $5.2 million in a special building reserve fund. Coughran said that the board at the end of 2018 may transfer another $500,000 into the fund, bringing the special reserve’s balance to about $5.7 million.
Below is the preferred plan — site plans for both building placement options — and conceptual floor plans for each floor. Use the tools below to zoom in and out on the plans.