Grove City Record

New city library

Architect signs on, plans kick-off meeting

Design team has experience with several library projects

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Grove City has selected an architect for the public library slated for the Town Center.

The city has contracted with Braun & Steidl Architects, an Akron-based firm with a Columbus office, to serve as the architect for construction of a new Grove City Library at the intersection of Broadway and Grant Avenue.

Coming along with Braun & Steidl is the design group HBM Architects, a Cleveland-based firm that describes itself on its website as a "national leader in the design of libraries and other campus and community environments," having participated in more than 200 library projects nationwide. Among those libraries is the Pickaway County District Public Library in Circleville.

"They presented together," Southwest Public Libraries Director Mark Shaw said. "That (Pickaway project) impressed us. They have a nice library down there."

According to information submitted to the city by Braun & Steidl, the team also includes TEC Inc. for mechanical, electrical, plumbing, security and technology engineering; SMBH for structural engineering; MKSK for site design and landscape architecture; and EMH&T for civil engineering.

The information also identifies Braun & Steidl's library design policy as "Designing innovative and inspiring spaces that can anticipate and adapt to change in technology, community interests, service delivery and needs that will best position libraries for the future."

The base cost of the contract is $1,109,000, City Administrator Chuck Boso said. Under Ohio law, a firm is picked, and then a price is negotiated, he said.

Braun & Steidl was selected by a search committee that included Boso, Shaw and library board of trustees members Kay Byard, Janet Shaler and Jill Billman-Royer. The committee considered 11 applications before narrowing the choices down to three.

Committee members ranked their top choices, with Braun & Steidl at the top, and the city commenced negotiations with the firm. Also involved with the negotiations was the Pizzuti Cos., serving as the city's owner's representative.

Shaw said a "kick-off" meeting will be held soon involving all parties to establish design parameters and goals going forward, including a possible expansion of Columbus Street that has been part of recent talks related to the redevelopment of Beulah Park.

"We have to get that resolved early because that will determine which way the building faces," Shaw said.

Boso said that issue would be explored immediately.

In a letter from Shaw to Boso, the library board of trustees indicates it sees advantages to extending Columbus Street but is concerned about possible impacts on parking, the configuration of the building and delaying the project.

"An extension of Columbus Street could significantly improve access to the new Grove City Library," Shaw said in the letter. "However, the SPL board of trustees does not want that improved access to come at the expense of safe and accessible parking or an effective and functional building ... (or) an excessive delay to the implementation schedule."

Presently, no timeline has been set for when Braun & Steidl should have plans ready for consideration.

"Once we have anything significant to show anyone, we're going to have an open house at the current library," Shaw said.

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