Renovation plans in Milton could be linked
MILTON The city of Milton is laying the foundation for a series of building renovations that could spruce up City Hall, add space and amenities for the Milton Public Library and convert the former Dean medical facility into a new police department.
The city council this week approved a blanket consulting agreement that signals city officials’ interest in renovating the Shaw building and its future police department over the next year.
The city will close next month on the purchase of the former Dean Clinic facility, 710 S. Janesville St. It agreed to buy the building earlier this month for $320,000.
The city plans to turn the building into a new city police station to replace the aging, cramped police department on Parkview Drive. Officials have estimated it will cost up to $1.8 million to convert the facility.
Another plan that hasn’t been in the public spotlight is the potential renovation of the 23,000-square-foot Shaw building, 430 E. High St. After a deal fell through that would have moved most city services into the former ANGI
Energy Systems building, 15 Plumb St., the city has begun looking at the Shaw building as a long-term home for City Hall, the Milton Public Library and city council chambers.
About half the upstairs of the Shaw building has been vacant since earlier this year when the Milton School District moved its central offices out.
City staff and library officials have listed facility needs and done space analyses this year for potential renovations to give the library more programming space and change the layout of City Hall to improve service delivery, officials said this week.
Officials also are considering renovating city council chambers, which are in the Shaw building’s basement level. Plans are tentative, but City Administrator Jerry Schuetz said city and library staff have looked at plans that could include creating library space upstairs or in the basement level.
Schuetz told The Gazette it could cost an estimated $75 to $125 per square foot for “low-level” renovations, while if “serious external and infrastructure renovations” were added, it could cost as much as $175 per square foot.
Milton’s 8,000-square-foot library is on the first floor of the Shaw building. It’s considered the busiest library in the county, per capita, officials have said.
The library had 78,458 patrons and 121,000 circulation items checked out in 2011, according to library records. That edges out Edgerton Public Library, which had 78,430 patrons last year, and 114,479 items checked out, according to city records.
By comparison, Edgerton’s library has two floors, a quiet study area with a wireless internet hotspot and two meeting rooms—one of which can hold up to 100 people and includes a projection screen for presentations and to show films, according to library staff.
Milton library Director Lisa Brooks said her department could use 16,000 square feet of space, but a staff analysis shows the Shaw building only could accommodate a 12,000-square-foot library. Brooks said the library needs space to create two enclosed rooms that would house a computer lab and quiet space for community meetings, study areas and early childhood literacy programs.
This week, the city council approved a blanket agreement allowing the city to retain local architectural firm Angus Young Associates for studies and designs to renovate the Shaw building and the former Dean Clinic building.
The agreement essentially means the city could hire Angus Young to do the work without the city using a competitive bidding process.
Schuetz said the arrangement could save the city time and money because the firm has “intimate knowledge” of both buildings from past projects.
It’s not clear whether the council would hire Angus Young for work on either renovation project. The council could decide Nov. 7 whether to move forward on one or both plans and whether to competitively bid out the work, officials said.