Construction Budget OK’d for Library Entrance

The Ann Arbor District Library board has approved a $425,523 construction budget for renovations to the downtown library’s front entrance, at 343 S. Fifth Ave. The action took place at the board’s July 21, 2014 meeting.

The board also increased the capital outlays line item in the 2014-2015 budget by that same amount to cover the work, transferring it from the library’s fund balance. As of June 30, the fund balance stood at $8.17 million.

The construction budget was presented by O’Neal Construction Inc. At its June 16, 2014 meeting, the board had voted to hire O’Neal for construction management of these renovations. The project involves adding new doors and a redesigned facade facing South Fifth Avenue, along with changes to address accessibility issues.

The construction budget includes funding for heated sidewalks and two new flagpoles. Those were among the items that were considered discretionary, but that were recommended by the board’s facilities committee. [.pdf of construction budget resolution]

The existing teal porcelain panels that wrap around the downtown building’s front facade, part of architect Alden Dow’s original design from the mid-1950s, will be replaced with a “concrete skin” panel. The entrance will continue to be oriented to South Fifth Avenue, with new doors into the building. Leading from the front of the building into the vestibule will be two balanced double doors, which will be easier to open than the existing entry, and a single automatic door. A matching set of these doors will lead from the vestibule to the interior of the building. A heated sidewalk is proposed along the exterior edge of the steps.

The new design also will address accessibility concerns that have been raised by the public.

The overall project was originally expected to cost about $250,000. Work will begin later this summer.

This brief was filed from the fourth-floor boardroom of the downtown library at 343 S. Fifth Ave. A more detailed report will follow.