Milton Public Library moves forward with demolition of second floor

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Andrea Behling
Tuesday, July 22, 2014

MILTON—It's the next chapter in the story of Milton's public building renovations.

Chapter 1 was remodeling the former Dean's Clinic at 710 S. Janesville St. into Milton's new City Hall and police department.

Chapter 2 was moving departments into the new shared facility.

Now comes Chapter 3: doing something with Milton Public Library's vacant second floor, formerly home to City Hall, at 430 E. High St.

It's not the last chapter, but it's the beginning of a proposed $2 million to $3 million renovation of the Shaw building.

The library board of trustees Wednesday is likely to finalize its request to Milton City Council to spend $155,000 for second-floor demolition, making room for “shared public space,” said Bill Wilson, president of the library board.

The money was budgeted for library renovations in 2013 as part of the city's loan for the new City Hall and police department. The library must use the money in the next year as part of the loan's requirements.

The demolition project will cost $800,000 to $900,000, Wilson said. Additional money is needed for the project, but once the library gets the OK from the city council, it will start working on construction bids to start the project right away, Wilson said.

“There is public expectation that the project move forward. We're trying to create that momentum,” Wilson said.

Demolition would include taking out partition walls, clearing the space and bringing the floor up to current building codes. Updates would include a new sprinkler system and restrooms that meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Partition walls subdivide the floor from when City Hall and the Milton School District's central offices shared the space. People haven't seen the floor opened up since the late 1980s, when it was still used as the Milton College library, Wilson said.

Taking out the partition walls and completely leveling the floor will open up the space and window visibility.

“People are going to be blown away by how really great this space is,” Wilson said.

Preliminary projected plans have a number of possible uses for the second floor once it's brought up to code, but that's to be included in the next phase of the Shaw building renovation. Before anything else is added or built, fundraising has to happen to complete the renovation.

The library board will pay a fundraising consultant $39,500 to help raise money, according to the library board's June 25 meeting minutes. Sweeney Group will be paid with funds already raised and those anticipated in the future, according to the minutes.

Madison-based Sweeney conducted a capital campaign feasibility study to get a better idea of fundraising benchmarks. The study includes a survey of residents and local and regional stakeholders to see how much money a fundraising campaign could hope to raise. The survey found that the campaign could raise $1.5 million, Wilson said.

Funding will come from three primary sources: tax dollars, grants and gifts from local individuals and corporations, Wilson said. If the library does a good job of phasing the project, the cost could be less than the high-end estimate of $3 million, Wilson said.

“We're really trying to bring it down to $2.5 million,” he said.

Demolition should start before Sept. 1 and be finished before the city's fund allocation deadline in 10 months, Wilson said.

The library and Arrowhead Library System will remain open during demolition.

Arrowhead Library System moved into the Shaw building basement a little over a month ago and helps defray some of the library's costs, Wilson said.

Noise during demolition won't be a problem, Wilson said.

“We'll be proud to have that noise going on. It'll be a tangible sign that something's actually happening,” he said.

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