Library remodeling could cost up to $3.5 million

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Elliot Hughes
Thursday, October 8, 2015

JANESVILLE--Hedberg Public Library officials expect its proposed remodeling project to come with a price of between $2.5 million and $3.5 million.

Bryan McCormick, the library's director, said Wednesday library officials have mostly settled on one design plan after considering several others in recent months. The library has hired an outside agency to conduct a study to determine whether the library can expect to raise the capital necessary to put the plan into action.

The results of the study should be available before the end of the calendar year, but McCormick's sense is that the library should be able to raise that kind of money.

“We've had really good support,” he said.

The library in the spring shared preliminary designs with the public for feedback.

“That helps us, knowing that what we're looking at makes sense,” he said.

If a fundraising campaign is determined to be worthwhile, the library would launch into it by early 2016, said Elizabeth Hough, the spokeswoman for the library. If everything went according to plan, construction would start sometime in 2017, McCormick said.

It would be the first time anyone's taken a hammer to the library since the mid-1990s, when $8 million was spent on a renovation that “gutted” the building and added the downstairs cafe, McCormick said.

The proposed remodeling would not be nearly as extensive. McCormick said the interior would look “fairly different,” but the library would not have to close at any point during the renovation.

It would focus on making the interior spaces more flexible. McCormick said a priority would be to allow guests access to the library's program room directly from the building's entrance. If the rest of the building could be sealed off, that would allow programs to run outside the library's business hours.

A centrally-located information desk, new areas for studying and meetings and technology upgrades are parts of the plans.

“The overall idea of the project is to make better use of the space we have and bring it up to date with 21st century ideas,” McCormick said.

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