With funding largely in place and a design concept agreed upon by trustees, the Brookfield Public Library’s board of trustees approved a contract with its architectural firm, Product Architecture and Design, for the design and construction of a new 21,000-square-foot library at 3541 Park Ave.

The new facility, which will have two above-ground stories and a full lower level, will replace the library’s existing facility, across Lincoln Avenue at 3609 Grand Blvd., which will be demolished upon completion of the new building. The site of the present library will be turned into a parking lot and green space.

According to the contract, the total budget for the work is estimated at about $9.2 million. The architect’s fee, which is included in that figure, is $770,000. Fees for additional services are also outlined in the contract.

A new contract with Product Architecture and Design was necessary, said Library Director Kimberly Coughran, because the scope of their services had changed significantly since they were first hired last February.

Initially, the firm was hired to explore renovating the existing library. With the decision to scrap a renovation effort in favor of constructing a new library, the fee being paid to Product Architecture and Design also needed to change, although the fee as a percentage of the total cost did not change, Coughran said.

If the scope of the project increases in the future, the architect’s fee will be 8 percent of the added value.

Coughran said architects are on schedule to submit a planned development application to the village of Brookfield’s Community and Economic Development Department in March and that library officials will be meeting with the village to discuss the project prior to that submittal to get input and direction.

Exactly when library officials and their architects will appear before the Planning and Zoning Commission to begin the planned development process depends on how long it takes the village to review the application and make recommendations.

The hope is for the public approval process to start this spring. Assuming the project is approved by the village board in a timely manner, construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in spring 2020.

Financing of the project is coming from several sources. The library over the last several years has been transferring money from its general operating fund to a special reserve fund, which was created to be used for capital expenses, including the construction of a new library.

After the library board approved transferring another $600,000 in December, that special reserve fund now stands at about $5.9 million.

In addition, the library has accepted a $1 million gift from Brookfield businesswoman Linda Sokol Francis and has lined up a loan of up to $3.5 million from the First National Bank of Brookfield.

The amount of the loan will depend in part on the final cost of the project and on the success of a capital campaign being conducted by the Foundation for the Brookfield Public Library.

In addition to Francis’ bequest – which came with an agreement to change the name of the library to the Linda Sokol Francis Brookfield Library – the foundation hopes to raise an additional $400,000.

In December 2018, the Brookfield Chamber of Commerce and First National Bank of Brookfield combined to donate $50,000 to the foundation to underwrite the new library’s planned 110-seat meeting room.

Other organizations have expressed interest in making other donations to underwrite other aspects of the library. The foundation, meanwhile, is planning to host “micro” capital campaign events in the homes of foundation members and library trustees.

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