The Lawrence Public Library Board of Trustees has approved a recommendation from Library Director Brad Allen to temporarily relocate the library to 700 New Hampshire St, the former Borders building, during the expansion and renovation of the current library. The recommended plan stays within the $19 million project budget and allows for a shortened construction schedule, better customer service, and parking for library patrons. This recommendation will now be forwarded to the City Commission for consideration.
In a memo to the Trustees, Allen outlined the benefits of relocation as well as the projected costs of moving off site. “Our number one priority is to continue serving our community in the best possible way during this transition,” said Allen. “It is essential to do this in a fiscally responsible manner. This plan allows us to do both.”
Over the past few months, Allen has worked with senior library staff, city officials, architects at Gould Evans, and construction management staff from B.A. Green to study a variety of scenarios to best maintain library services during the construction period. Under the recommended plan, the library would lease the Borders building for 20 months. The overall cost difference between staying in the current building and relocating is projected to be $69,000, an amount planned for in the project budget.
John Wilkins, lead project architect from Gould Evans, added, “We see this is as a prudent investment that will significantly minimize the potential for additional unforeseen costs and liabilities. It allows us to stay on budget and manage the project in a more timely and efficient way.”