• Paula Krapf

A busy 2019 for new library construction

Exterior walls will begin going up in January as workers complete steelwork on the new Geneva Library at 227 S. Seventh St.

When construction crews begin detailing and pouring concrete for floors work will be done from the top floor down to the lowest level.

A view of construction work from Campbell Street.

A view of construction work from Sixth Street.

What will the new library feature?

The 57,000-square-foot building will have 76 off-street parking spaces, drive-up convenience, a variety of meeting areas, a community art gallery, and outdoor reading spaces.

* The Library will feature an enhanced children’s area with developmentally appropriate collections, play areas, and learning opportunities for children from birth through eighth grade.

* Teens and adults will have access to a variety of library materials and enjoy spending time in the quiet reading and study spaces.

* Additionally, Library service will be expanded to include new opportunities for collaborating, using technology, and experimenting in lab spaces.

An overview of new library construction taken on Seventh Street near Campbell Street.

The goal is a prospective opening date in the fall of 2019.

View renderings of the new library at

A view of work taken from Seventh Street.

Rendering of the new library viewed from Seventh Street.

Background on the new library:

The construction you see now is part of a much bigger process that started in 2015, when the Library Board and administration began gathering input on future library needs through several focus groups and a community survey.

In March 2016, the Library closed on the purchase of 227 S. Seventh St. so it could maintain a downtown presence with a future new facility. After completing a detailed needs assessment in 2016, the Board concluded that they needed to plan now for a new library to address deficiencies in the current facility and to provide the necessary services and resources for Library District residents. The Board made the decision to proceed to referendum and initiated a schematic design phase to determine building size and cost estimates and to complete a preliminary site plan.

Voters approved the referendum question in April 2017 to issue $21.8 million in building bonds to finance constructing and furnishing a new library. After the referendum, the Library asked architects to begin work on the detailed design, including holding a series of design forums so that public input could be incorporated into the final design. In July 2017, the Library sold the first $9.4 million in bonds to cover the initial design and construction costs, and it sold the remainder of the bonds in December 2018. The Library Board met their commitment to keep the property tax impact of the bond sales under $100 per year for the average $300,000 home in the District.

This project also underwent careful review by city agencies including the Historic Preservation Commission, the Plan Commission, and Geneva City Council. The new library plans received unanimous approval to proceed from both the Plan Commission and City Council. Following those approvals, the Library issued the bid package and awarded the construction contract to IHC Construction Companies LLC of Elgin. The formal groundbreaking was in July and construction started in August.

What informed the design of the new library?

The building’s design unites many elements of the community, and was developed with feedback from both the public and the Historic Preservation Commission. The HPC encouraged architects to examine the history of the area as an industrial corridor and tie some of those elements into the design.

* The colors and texture of the material choice reflect the Fox Valley limestone and other building materials prevalent in the area.

* The curvilinear ribbon that flows along the second floor was inspired by the cottonwood tree on-site and treehouses seen in residential neighborhoods.

* The old lumber mill and the Pope Box Company inspired the vertical expressions seen in the design, and the metal banding is a reflection of the former Geneva Kitchens manufacturing facility.

* The arch at the roof level that echoes the hull of the Viking ship now resting in Good Templar Park is meant to pay homage to the Swedish heritage of the area.

What will happen to the park on the site?

Library officials are working with Park District officials to develop plans for a new playground at the corner of Sixth and Franklin. The Park District will also engage in a public process to seek input.

Visit for a comprehensive overview of the plans for the new library and regular updates on progress. Please contact us anytime at



127 James Street  | Geneva, IL 60134 | 630-232-0780 phone | 630-232-0881 fax

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