Not wanting the public to feel locked out of the process, trustees have put a twist on the traditional request for architect proposals as they work toward the schematic design phase of the library expansion.
The library sent letters to 43 prospective architects informing them of plans to build a new 15,000-square-foot library. While the RFP process is familiar, trustees will give $5000 honorariums to the three finalists to prepare concept sketches, plans, renderings of the exterior and a simple scale model. These will be presented to the board and public for input.
This approach is meant to allay concerns the board will end up with one design and the public will react poorly, Building Committee Chair Jill Fisher said. “There will be a public presentation by these architects. This I want to be a big-deal production.”
The Friends of the Library has already committed $5000 for an honorarium, as did longtime library supporter Ralph Goneau.
To encourage trustees to donate, President Dorothea Marcus chipped in $1000.
“I’ve never donated $1000 to anything,” she said.
Architects interested in responding to an RFP are expected to reply with a letter of interest by May 11. Once an architect is selected, the schematic design phase is expected to cost $100,000. Toward that, the library has about $35,000 on hand and another $25,000 committed from Friends of the Library.
Fisher has placed the anticipated construction cost at $5 million and is hopeful to avoid bonding any of that through a massive capital fundraising campaign.
Starting with input from the staff on April 26, the library will hold three planning sessions to get a better understanding of what is needed and how things can be accommodated in the new building. The library will be closed for the April 26 session.
Other planning sessions are set for May 7 and May 14 at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the library. These sessions will involve reviewing the library’s three-year plan of service and incorporating all the needed spaces.
Though participants were already chosen for these sessions, the public is welcome to observe.
Making it green
Trustee David Lewis’ Environmental Science class at Tech Valley High School in Albany is working on ways to make the new building carbon neutral and will present its findings at a special meeting May 21 at noon at at Town Hall, 76 Tinker Street. Area green building experts were also invited to speak at the meeting.
Trustees faced sharp criticism for not being transparent in the process that led to the ill-fated annex proposal for the former Woodstock Laundromat site. A mostly new board has made overtures to the public to be more transparent, but still faces criticism for voting to replace the majority of the library building despite survey results that showed most want a renovation.
With some logos designed by Trustee Caroline Jerome, the Let’s Build a Better Library Committee has launched an email newsletter to counter some of the gossip surrounding the proposed building project. It notes the library is committed to providing temporary services including the Saturday book sales while the library is under construction. To sign up, go to woodstock.org/getinvolved.