$1.45 million new library design and fundraising contract could be approved at todays special meeting

By Adam Strunk

To get to the groundbreaking point of remodeling or building a library, the city and library board will need to pony up $1.445 million for the design and fundraising process.

That’s the total cost for a proposal right now that would use an Ohio Architectural firm to complete sight selection, design, and capitol campaign fundraising work. The Newton City Commission could possibly vote to accept the contract tonight at a special meeting at 5 p.m.

According to a memo circulated by City Engineer Suzanne Loomis explaining the proposal and emailed by the city to Newton Now, Newton would pay $915,000 of the cost for design and site selection that part of the project would be undertaken by HBD Architects of Cleveland Ohio.

The design portion, $880,000, would be in line with normal architecture costs, City Director of Communications Erin McDaniel said.

“The bulk of the consultant cost is design, which is typically 9-11 percent of construction cost,” she stated. “So if we’re talking about an $8 to $10 million building, the price tag is not unexpected.”

The HBD firm is responsible for new library and concept designs for the Wichita Public Library-Central Library and the Johnson County Central Resource Libraries and listed dozens of other libraries across the country it designed. It also was responsible for the last Newton Public Library design process that was paid for and suggested a $10 million new library project. That design was never acted on by the community.

Loomis’ memo said the selection committee for library firms appreciated its massive experience in library design.

The Newton Public Library Board would pay $530,000 for a feasibility review as well as help with a capital fundraising campaign.

The Feasibility review would also be conducted by HBD.

However according to the memo the selection committee liked the capital campaign presentation by a subcontractor of WMD Architects, Swanson House and worked to merge services provided by the two firms into the single proposal. The overall agreement would be made out to HBD Architects.

The proposal also notes that if fundraising needs exceed two million for the project an additional $72,000 will need to be ponied up for additional fundraising assistance to Swanson House.

At 5 p.m. today, the commission will meet to discuss and possibly approve the contract.

Newton Now received the agenda and notice that a special meeting was being called for the next day at 4:46 p.m. Tuesday.

When asked, City Director of Communications Erin McDaniel said the special meeting – which would allow for the city to take action – was called by City Administration.

A simple work session held between the two bodies, such as what happened at their last joint meeting in July, would not have allowed action.

A joint meeting with the library task force was scheduled for todays date according to the Sept. 10 Newton City Commission agenda and packet.

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