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Trustees present conceptual plan for Wolfeboro library expansion


Adopted plan calls for new building in 2016



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THE FLOOR PLAN for the proposed new Wolfeboro Public Library, as produced by consulting architects Johnson Roberts based on comments received through meetings with staff, Friends of the Library, and patrons from March through October. (Courtesy of Library Trustees) (click for larger version)
December 09, 2010
WOLFEBORO — The Wolfeboro Public Library trustees presented its final selection of a conceptual plan for library expansion to the Board of Selectmen at their Dec. 1 meeting.

The plan presented was the result of months of planning and 12 meetings, including two public presentations in May and July.

John Sandeen, Chairman of the Library Board of Trustees, Candy Thayer, Chairman of the Building Committee, and Library Director Cindy Scott each spoke to aspects of the plan and how it was developed.

Sandeen gave the background on the project, pointing out that it dated back to 2005 needs assessment and growth projection, which indicated that the library would need about twice the space currently used. The conceptual plan proposes to double the size of the building. With town approval the trustees had acquired the adjoining Ida Glidden lot with funds bequeathed to the library for the purpose of expanding it. Then last March voters approved $30,000 for a conceptual study of how to expand the library on the 2.5 acres of the two combined lots. After reviewing 17 proposals from architectural firms, Johnson Roberts Architects were chosen to do the study, and they created 20 different floor plans and made multiple presentations of the possible configurations, including two public presentations. Using the feedback from those presentations, on Oct. 22 the trustees made a final choice, which they feel will provide a facility to serve Wolfeboro residents for 30 to 40 years.

Thayer then reviewed the overall conceptual plan with the aid of floor plans and elevations provided by the architects. She said that a whole range of options had been considered, including additions and renovations and new construction of one story, one and a half story and two story buildings. Appledore Engineering provided a site and zoning review report and Rider, Levett and Bucknall provide a schematic cost design estimate of the chosen design. The cost estimate in current dollars for the proposed 21,600 square foot new building would be $5,733,00. With contingencies and other project costs the total estimate would be $7,370,000.

"While everyone is gulping over the numbers," Thayer said, "I want to emphasize that these plans are not the final building, but a rendering of the concepts and elements we want to incorporate in an expanded library." She said that the library staff feels more study is needed of changing technology and formats will affect the community's use of the library. Also, time is needed to evaluate meeting space needs given present proposals for Town Hall and a community center, and to view the results of the 2010 Census.

For those reasons the trustees have decided to delay the design and construction drawing stage of the project until 2013. "We plan to put a shovel in ground in 2016. Our timeline illustrates our commitment to planning." She also said the trustees "have set the lofty goal of raising half the construction cost, which would be close to $3,000,00, through donations, bequests and grants."

Reviewing the design

With the help of Library Director Scott, who pointed out features of the floor plan that accompanies this article, Thayer went through the major features of the conceptual plan for the new library.

First of all, the conceptual plan calls for a new library building, all on one floor, occupying most of the part of the combined lots near South Main Street. Earlier proposals to build additions to the existing library building or to build a separate new building on the south section of the lot and leave the existing building intact for other uses were rejected.

The plan as shown has few interior walls. Most areas are separated by glass (which improves sight lines, and can be reconfigured).

As with the current library, parking will be at the back of the building (to the left in the floor plan), and one of the two main entrances will face the parking area. The second entrance faces South Main Street. The parking lot entrance gives direct access after hours to the Multipurpose Room (lower left corner) and ADA-compliant bathrooms. The main part of the library can be closed off after hours with a gate while preserving meeting room access.

The proposed plan has separate defined spaces for children, young adults and adults, as well as social spaces. Starting in the upper left, the yellow section of the plan is the children's area with its own separate activity area (the round area to the left), its own librarians office and information desk.

Rotating to the right is the staff work area and the main circulation desk, which lies in the middle between both main entrances. The rounded area on the right is a café with adjacent Friends store. This is intended to be a social area where patrons can talk without disturbing others.

Moving down on the right are four separate areas: a dedicated area for young adults; a wi-fi public computer area; a room for periodicals and the Large Print collection, and a local history room which can also be used for small conferences.

On the bottom are two small conference rooms or study areas, one for eight people and the other for four.

Occupying the rest of the space is the adult area, which provides areas for reading and reference work as well as the main collection shelved in rows and two areas for audiobooks, DVDs, CDs and whatever other media come along.

Thayer emphasized that this is still a conceptual plan, one that best emobodies what patrons, staff, Friends and trustees felt the library needs as of December 2010. The library and trustees are open to further comments on the design and, as she had stated earlier, it will not be until 2013 that final designs and bid documents will be created.

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
Summit
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