Stories indexed with the term ‘library renovation’

AADL Makes Infrastructure Investments

Ann Arbor District Library board meeting (July 21, 2014): Action at the July board meeting allocated in total nearly $570,000 toward three infrastructure projects, mostly related to the downtown library. A special meeting on July 29 added $75,000 to that amount.

Rachel Coffman, Ann Arbor District Library, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Rachel Coffman spoke during public commentary to earn points in the AADL summer game. (Photos by the writer.)

Most of the funding was for renovations of the downtown library’s front entrance. The board authorized a $425,523 construction budget for that project at 343 S. Fifth Ave., which has been in the works for several months. The budget covers new doors, a redesigned facade, and heated sidewalks, among other changes. The construction manager is O’Neal Construction of Ann Arbor.

Also related to the downtown library, trustees authorized a $93,598 contract with Schindler Elevator Corp. to repair the public elevator, which has been out of commission since this spring.

A week after the July 21 meeting, the board called a special meeting for July 29 to address additional issues related to the elevator. The four board members present at that meeting voted to authorize an additional $75,000 for elevator work.

Because of the elevator repair work, the Friends of the AADL bookshop is now located in the main first-floor lobby of the downtown building, rather than its normal location in the lower level, which is closed. It’s been in the lobby since June 30, and is open all of the hours that the building is open. Books are sold at the circulation desk.

The third infrastructure project approved on July 21 was $50,000 for carpet replacement in parts of the downtown library, as well as at the branch located at the Westgate Shopping Center.

The money for all three projects will be taken from the fund balance, which stood at $8.17 million as of June 30.

In other action on July 21, the board approved five adjustments to the 2013-14 budget, for the prior fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. The adjustments totaled $96,300.

Public commentary was dominated by fans of AADL’s summer game – in part because they could earn points by speaking to the board. Other issues raised during public commentary included concerns about communication, outreach to underserved populations, the cost of renovations to the downtown library entrance, and the “purging” of reference books.

The board’s August meeting is canceled. The next scheduled board session is on Sept. 15. [Full Story]

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 … [Full Story]

AADL Board Reviews Budget, New Entrance

Ann Arbor District Library board meeting (April 21, 2014): Two items were the main focus of this month’s AADL board meeting: a review of the upcoming fiscal year’s budget, and action on the redesigned entrance to the downtown library.

Ken Nieman, Ann Arbor District Library, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Ken Nieman, AADL’s outgoing associate director of finance, HR and operations, has taken a job as CFO of the public library in Sonoma County, California. His last day at AADL is May 2. (Photos by the writer.)

The proposed fiscal year 2014-15 budget – for the 12 months starting July 1, 2014 – is based on a levy of 1.55 mills, unchanged from the current rate. The library is authorized to levy up to 1.92 mills, but in recent years the board has set the millage rate at lower levels. The $12.568 million budget assumes a 2.4% increase in the district’s property tax base.

The board is expected to vote on the budget at its May 19 meeting.

Related to the redesigned downtown library’s front entrance, the board authorized the library director, Josie Parker, to hire a construction manager for the project. Board members also allocated $18,580 from the fund balance to pay InForm Studio for construction documents. InForm Studio, the architecture firm that previously designed AADL’s Traverwood branch, has been working on this project for several months. An update was given most recently at the board’s March 17, 2014 meeting.

Before taking action, the board heard from InForm Studio’s Cory Lavigne, who presented a revised design for the project, based on feedback from board members and the public. A large translucent sign that had previously been part of the design is now eliminated, after some board members voiced concerns about security issues that it might cause. A bench in front of the building – originally part of the proposed design – has been removed. Instead, a sign that’s low to the ground is proposed in that location.

The existing teal porcelain panels that wrap around the 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.

Lavigne reviewed several other changes, some of which addressed accessibility concerns that were raised in the preliminary design. A heated sidewalk is proposed along the exterior edge of the steps.

The board spent several minutes discussing a suggestion from Ed Surovell, who wanted more than just one flagpole in front of the building. Trustees reached consensus for the details to be worked out by the architect and the facilities committee, on which Surovell serves. Other members of the facilities committee are Margaret Leary and Jan Barney Newman.

The April 21 meeting also marked some transitions in top administrative positions. Associate director Ken Nieman, who has worked at AADL for 14 years, has taken a job as CFO for the public library in Sonomo County, California. His last day at AADL will be May 2. That will also be the last day for human resources manager DeAnn Doll, who’s been with AADL for about 15 years. She has accepted a job as director of human resources for Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland, Florida.

Earlier this year, Celeste Choate – AADL’s former associate director of services, collections and access – was hired as executive director of the Urbana Free Library in Urbana, Illinois. She started that position on April 1.

At the April 21 meeting, AADL director Josie Parker noted that change is a constant, “and while we miss people, we look forward to the opportunities that change brings us.” [Full Story]

UM Clements Library Renovation Approved

A $16.8 million renovation of the University of Michigan’s William L. Clements Library – including an 8,500-square-foot underground addition to house portions of the library’s collection and mechanical equipment – was approved by UM regents at their Nov. 15, 2012 meeting. The library, built in 1923 and located at 909 S. University Ave., specializes in American history and culture from the 15th to the 19th century. The changes will make the collection more accessible, according to university staff.

As described in a staff memo, the project will make upgrades to the building’s infrastructure “in a manner that utilizes historic preservation techniques.” The project will include exterior restoration as well as interior renovations to heating and air-conditioning, fire-suppression, security systems and … [Full Story]

Forums Set on Downtown Library’s Future

The Ann Arbor District Library board has scheduled three public forums in June to seek input on the future of the downtown Ann Arbor District Library – including the possibility of putting a millage on the ballot in November 2012 to fund a project. According to a press release issued by AADL on Tuesday, the forums are also intended for library staff to present information about “the challenge and opportunities presented by the Downtown Library.” Tours of the current building at 343 S. Fifth Ave. will also be provided.

The forums are set for Saturday, June 9 from 10 a.m.-noon; Tuesday, June 12 from 7-9 p.m.; and Wednesday, June 20 from 7-9 p.m. All forums will be held in the downtown library’s … [Full Story]

Survey Helps Downtown Library Planning

Ann Arbor District Library board meeting (April 16, 2012): As previously reported by The Chronicle, a new survey commissioned by the Ann Arbor District Library indicates voter support for a tax increase to pay for major renovations or reconstruction of the downtown building at 343 S. Fifth Ave.

Downtown Ann Arbor library building at 343 S. Fifth Ave.

View of the downtown Ann Arbor library building at 343 S. Fifth Ave., from the corner of Fifth and William. The orange cones are tied to construction of what's tentatively called the Library Lane parking structure, being built by the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority. Library staff and board members are again discussing whether to renovate or rebuild this main library location. (Photos by the writer.)

At the board’s April meeting on Monday, AADL director Josie Parker summarized results of the phone survey, which was conducted in early March by the Lansing firm EPIC-MRA. It included 400 responses. She noted that the library’s five-year strategic plan, approved by the board in 2010, includes an initiative related to the downtown building.

The survey indicated that if a vote were taken today – on funding a $65 million renovation or new construction project with a property tax increase of 0.69 mills – 45% of survey respondents would vote yes, and another 15% would lean toward a yes vote. That compares with a total of 37% who said they would either vote no or lean toward no.

Support was even stronger among survey respondents for scaled-back options with lower tax increases. [.pdf of survey results]

“This is a beginning, but it’s a very positive beginning after a long four years,” Parker said, referring to the board’s decision in 2008 to halt redevelopment of the downtown building because of faltering economic conditions.

Later in the meeting, the board voted unanimously to appoint a three-member special facilities committee, charged with making recommendations to the full board.

The April 16 meeting also included a presentation of the draft 2012-2013 budget, for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2012. The budget is based on levying 1.55 mills – unchanged from the current levy, but below the 1.92 mills that the district is authorized to collect.

The budget anticipates tax revenues of $11.203 million for fiscal 2012-13, representing a 1% increase in tax revenues compared to the current projection of $11.091 million for fiscal 2011-12. The overall FY 2012-13 budget revenues – including tax revenue, state aid and other revenue sources – is $12.254 million, compared to the current budget of $12.191 million.

The board is expected to vote on the budget at its May 21 meeting. That meeting is also expected to include a public hearing on the budget, as well as a formal director’s evaluation and renewal of a space use agreement with the Friends of the AADL, which operates a used bookstore in the downtown library’s lower level. [Full Story]

Survey: Support for New Downtown Library

The Ann Arbor District Library board is continuing its consideration of a possible new or renovated downtown building. At its April 16, 2012 meeting, the group received a report of recent survey results that gauged support for a millage to fund such a project.

The survey showed that if a vote were taken now – on funding a $65 million renovation or new construction project with a property tax increase of 0.69 mills – 45% of survey respondents would vote yes, and another 15% would lean toward a yes vote. That compares with a total 37% who said they would either vote no or lean toward no. [.pdf of survey results]

The survey also asked about support if the project were scaled … [Full Story]

Know Your Library Board: Carola Stearns

Carola Stearns, the newest Ann Arbor District Library board member.

Carola Stearns, the newest Ann Arbor District Library board member.

Carola Stearns hadn’t planned on being an Ann Arbor District Library board member, but a set of circumstances converged to put her on the board at one of its most crucial times in recent history, helping guide a major building project that could transform part of downtown Ann Arbor.

Stearns was appointed to the AADL board in early August, following the resignation of Jean King, who was elected in May. King – a veteran attorney and women’s rights activist – resigned in mid-July, citing her inability to be available for board meetings in person. [Full Story]

Underground Parking Garage Plans Reviewed

Last Friday afternoon in the sixth floor conference room of the Larcom Building, an aerial image of the block between Fifth and Division Streets was projected on the screen. The source of the image came from a computer in the back of the room, manned by Brad Ruppel, of the city’s land development review services. Throughout the meeting Ruppel zoomed, panned, toggled between mapping tools, and brought up various other images to support the back-and-forth between city staff and members of the project team for the South Fifth Avenue Underground Parking Garage and Street Improvement Site Plan. The meeting was an opportunity for city staff to explain what revisions to the plan would be required on resubmission, which is due on Sept. 24. [Full Story]