Appleton library project gains momentum with release of new architectural images
APPLETON – Additional images of the new Appleton Public Library were released Thursday, raising the anticipation and excitement of a project that has been mired in budget concerns for more than a year.
“A public library is a beacon and symbol of a community’s aspirations, and this design builds on the building’s existing legacy to serve our community’s needs far into the future,” Library Director Colleen Rortvedt said.
The drawings show the library expansion atop the east side of the building at 225 N. Oneida St. The second floor will include a community room for 300 people.
City officials previously acknowledged the revised design of the $40.4 million library isn’t as spectacular as the one that exceeded the budget by at least $14 million in September and was rejected, but they think it will meet the community’s needs and hope it will stay within budget during a period of high inflation, supply chain issues and labor shortages.
When will the construction actually start?
The most recent schedule for the new library calls for bidding the project yet this month and the opening of bids in early June. If the bids are in line with the budget and approved by the Common Council, construction could begin in mid-July.
The new library will consist of 90,150 square feet of space, compared with the existing library’s 86,600 square feet.
The redesign reduced excavation and combined meeting spaces but still meets the library’s objectives for accessibility, connectivity, flexibility, safety and sustainability. The library says the new design will provide:
More space for service to children and teens
Additional spaces for collaboration and creation
Additional study and meeting rooms with varying sizes and accommodations
Lower shelving, two public elevators and easier-to-navigate restrooms
Improved sight lines for safety and a better browsing experience