On Tuesday, December 8, 2015, Frederick Quinn Construction Management presented Helen Plum Library Board of Trustees with a preliminary Facility Condition Assessment Report of the current building and grounds. The main purpose of the evaluation is to develop a master maintenance schedule for planned capital improvements, along with financial projections for their costs. The report on the building, originally constructed on its current site in 1962 with an addition in 1978, was performed by a team of designers, builders and engineers experienced with library facilities.
The report found no items identified as needing immediate attention to prevent a catastrophic failure that could impact the Library’s ability to operate. However, high priority items are recommended for corrective action in the next two years. The remaining recommendations can be further prioritized based on available financial resources.
The summary estimation of high priority costs (next two years) is $1.35 million. Items recommended for the next 2-5 years are $2 million. Repairs and replacements needed during the next 5-10 years are an additional $500K. This financial projection includes “soft” costs such as design, fees, contingencies and an accommodation for potential inflation.
Some of the key recommendations from the report include:
- Replacement of mechanical equipment that is past its useful life, including the original 1962 boiler and galvanized piping, as well as the HVAC system.
- Replacement of all of the original 1962 window units and built-up roof system to increase energy efficiency and insulation value.
- Exterior replacement of existing deteriorating waterproof membrane and crumbling masonry on the plaza deck roof to avoid additional leakage.
- Addition of a sprinkler system.
Due to the age of the building, the presence of asbestos or other environmental issues may present restrictions or challenges for future work and should be considered prior to construction implementations. In addition, any major construction work may warrant an evaluation with ADA code compliance to ensure that all of their programs, services, and activities, are accessible to people with disabilities.
The Facility Condition Assessment Report is strictly an objective analysis of the physical condition of the building and grounds, and is independent of any recommendations to modify the building to better service Library members or staff.
As part of the Library’s efforts to define the future of its services, Library Administration also formed a Planning Team with library architect group Engberg Anderson to create a Strategic Facility Plan to determine the overall space needs of the Library District.
According to the plan, “Recent measures to improve access to the collections as well as increased marketing and promotion efforts have brightened up a dreary building. This has resulted in small but noticeable gains in attendance at programs and circulation, reversing a long standing downward trend in circulation, visits, borrowers, PC uses, and collection size. Much of the difficulty in continuing this uptick will be finding adequate space of sufficient quality to maintain services and collections the public deems useful.”
The study applied data from peer group comparisons of nearby DuPage County public libraries and those in the Chicago area with similar budgets, population, circulation and collections. Service population projections were also included. This evaluation found that the Helen Plum Library lags behind in most performance measurements, particularly in attendance and visits.
The team also looked at emerging library service patterns such as digital publishing, improved display, increased training and one-on-one sessions. Services such as early childhood learning experiences, meeting mobile computing needs, creating space for teens to collaborate, and an increase in rooms for studying, meeting and programming were also examined.
The report concludes that although recent efforts have improved the aesthetics and performance of the Library, there is a critical need to provide services and collections in a more effective manner and to complete long overdue physical upgrades.
Some key recommendations include:
- Reorganizing the collection to provide handicapped accessibility, increase display of materials and make items easier to reach.
- Providing more options for seating, studying and collaboration. Currently the Library has only two small study rooms that are in high demand and frequently unavailable.
- Adding areas to the Library to accommodate multiple medium size groups as well as larger groups up to 140 people. The Library’s current auditorium is continuously booked and unavailable as it is used for Board Meetings, Story Times, programs, computer training and community and staff meetings.
- Improving access to technology including a training classroom, more outlets, space for new technologies like digitization services (for example transferring VHS to digital), 3-D printing and a media lab.
- Providing convenient drive-through and pick up service for commuters, seniors and busy residents which will also help alleviate the lack of parking.
Also included is an assurance that the Library’s additional needed space can be accommodated on the site in a way that takes advantage of the topography, street edges, and to best enhance Lilacia Park.
The recommended scenario to increase the space from 34,000 to 50,000 square feet, utilizing the Library’s property to the west of the current building and relocating temporarily during construction, is likely in the $20,000,000 total project cost range. Seeking input on the willingness of the community to support this investment is part of the Library’s overall planning effort.
The next steps in the process are to define three possible strategic options:
- Complete capital repairs and renovate the building as needed.
- Expand the existing building to meet the area requirements of the Needs Statement.
- Replace the existing building on the current site to meet the area requirements of the Needs Statement.
Conceptual cost models will be developed for each option and a value index will be reviewed with the Board of Trustees.
Community Engagement meetings will be held at the Helen Plum Library, 110 West Maple St. in Lombard to present details of these reports and to seek public input.
Saturday, January 16, 2016 at 2pm
Thursday, January 28, 2016 at 7pm
Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 2pm
Saturday, February 20, 2016 at 2pm
Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 2pm
Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 7pm
The Library is also currently collecting responses to the Next Chapter survey available at helenplumnextchapter.org
Anyone interested in receiving information about supporting the Helen Plum Library should email firstname.lastname@example.org to join our mailing list.
For more information about any of the programs or services available at Helen Plum Library please visit us at http://www.helenplum.org or call us at 630-627-0316. The Helen Plum Library is located in downtown Lombard at 110 West Maple St. and is open Monday – Friday from 9am-9pm, Saturday from 9am-5pm and Sunday from 1-5pm.