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Library Expansion Project Timeline
2008: The St. Charles Public Library Board of Trustees voted to approve a commitment to expand the Library building in the coming years. It was determined that an expansion was necessary in order to better serve the growing and changing population of St. Charles. The current Library building was designed in the mid-1980s to serve a district population of 45,000 up until the mid-2000s before requiring a renovation. At this time, the Board of Trustees came to the determination that the Library would not have enough space in its current arrangement to continue to meet the needs of the growing number of Library cardholders, and began to explore options for expansion and renovation.
Late 2008: The Library began the process of acquiring surrounding properties with the intention of adding more parking spaces and the possibility of a future building expansion. These properties are located on the block between Sixth and Seventh Avenues and between Walnut and Illinois Avenues.
November 2010: The St. Charles Public Library went to referendum, asking for approval for a tax increase that would fund a $35 million bond issue for a complete renovation, expansion, and technological overhaul project that would have resulted in the Library more than doubling its size. The referendum was unsuccessful, and the concept plans were placed on hold. The Library’s Board of Trustees went back to the drawing board to begin the process anew.
2013: Under a new Library director, concept plans were put together for a revised renovation plan and modest expansion. The plans were placed on hold by the Board of Trustees again due to the projected construction cost being over budget.
2014: Based upon previous concept plans, the St. Charles Public Library underwent a small-scale renovation project with a special focus on core upkeep and modernization. The renovation brought improvements to such spaces as the main lobby and staircase, the Young Adult loft area, Youth Services, the Reader Services Desk, and the Reference Desk. Computer stations were added in multiple areas, much of the carpeting was replaced, and stacks and displays were rearranged for better usage of the Library’s space. The Board of Trustees voted to approve new goals for what should be included in future plans for the Library.
2017: Under current Director Edith G. Craig, the St. Charles Public Library’s Board of Trustees and staff began the process of updating the Library’s strategic plan. This process included holding community input sessions, focus groups, interviews, a survey, and other feedback tools to be able to create an accurate roadmap for the next four years.
2018: The St. Charles Public Library adopted its new four-year strategic plan. At the center of this strategic plan are the core values of patron-centric, stewardship, excellence, and innovation. With the guidance of this new plan, the Board hired Sheehan Nagle Hartray Architects to begin assessing our current space needs and the condition of the existing Library building.
Through this process, the Board, staff, and consultants began work on a new concept plan for a renovation and modest expansion of the St. Charles Public Library. In conjunction with our consultants, the Library began to hold meetings with community stakeholders to develop an updated plan that would fall within the Library’s budget that had been set aside through the special reserve funds.
January 9, 2019: After receiving preliminary cost estimates provided by our consultants, the Library’s Board of Trustees voted to approve a project budget of $18.6 million to include a full renovation of the building, a new site plan addressing parking and the addition of green space, and a modest expansion of less than 10,000 square feet. Seventy three percent of the project will be paid for through the Library’s special reserve fund.
Next Steps: The Finance Committee will meet January 29, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. at the Library to discuss various funding tools for the remaining $5 million. The Board of Trustees will meet February 13, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. in the library to finalize the concept plans and building program.