Construction of the Linda Sokol Francis Brookfield Library begins next week, officials announced Friday, climaxing a more-than-decade-long effort to build a facility that can adequately deliver library services to residents of the village.
For the next year or so, construction will cause some disruption to traffic in the immediate vicinity of the work site, which will straddle Lincoln Avenue, between Park Avenue and the alley to the east.
Beginning on April 14, construction fencing will enclose the entire property at 3541 Park Ave., including the sidewalk and parkway. Fencing will extend to the south curb of Lincoln Avenue. A construction trailer will be located in parking area on Lincoln Avenue outside the existing library at 3609 Grand Blvd.
Access to the north-south alley between the construction site and homes in the 3500 block of Oak Avenue will remain fully open to residential traffic. No construction traffic will be allowed in the alley or on Lincoln Avenue east of the alley.
Construction vehicles will exit and access the work site through gates at Lincoln Avenue and Grand Boulevard.
According to a press release issued by Library Director Kimberly Coughran, surveyors will begin their work the week on April 20. Toward the end of that week, it’s expected that workers will begin stripping the topsoil from the site of the new library in order to build a temporary road for construction vehicles along the west side of the property.
Residents can watch the progress of construction through time-lapse videos that library officials plan to release weekly and monthly. A camera has been positioned on the roof of the existing library to capture the action.
The library will share the videos on social media, on its website and in the library’s periodic e-blasts to residents who have signed up to receive them. You can register for the e-blasts at brookfieldlibrary.info/newfacility.
The Brookfield Public Library, once it is able to reopen when the statewide stay-at-home order is lifted, will remain open during construction. Once the new facility is ready to open its doors, work will shift south of Lincoln Avenue for the demolition of the existing library and the construction of a new parking lot and small corner park.
A ceremonial groundbreaking will take place once concerns regarding public gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic have passed.
The 21,000-square-foot, roughly $10.7 million library is being funded largely through about $7.5 million the library board has set aside in recent years after voters rejected a 2016 referendum to fund a larger project that had been approved by the village of Brookfield after a contentious approval process.
The library board changed its strategy following that defeat and began planning for a smaller library that could be constructed without asking voters for a tax increase to pay for it. In addition to the savings, the library board has secured issuance of $3.6 million debt certificates from the First National Bank of Brookfield.
But the linchpin to the project was securing a $1 million donation for construction from local businesswoman Linda Sokol Francis. That donation assured the library board had the funds to move ahead with a final design.