Crews get ready for next phase of new library construction
A view of work on the new library taken from Sixth Street looking into the upper level.
Construction crews continue framing the exterior walls on the new Geneva Public Library at 227 S. Seventh St. They will soon begin detailing and pouring concrete for floors, working from the top floor down to the lowest level, and crews have also begun plumbing work. Geothermal work on the wells that will heat and cool the new building is now complete. The prospective opening date is fall 2019.
A closer view of steel framing for exterior walls taken from Campbell 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 building will be fully ADA compliant, making it accessible for all.
* 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 expanded collections 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, making crafts, and experimenting in lab spaces.
Construction work viewed from Seventh and Campbell streets.
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 feedback from the community 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 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.
A view of new library construction from Franklin Street.
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.