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home : news : news Wednesday, August 23, 2017

1/14/2017 Email this articlePrint this article 
Library picks firm for work on expansion
Dubuque architects will do conceptual drawings for $5+ million project

By Tom Pantera

The Frances Banta Waggoner Library Board has selected a Dubuque company to do the earliest work on library expansion.

The board on Wednesday chose FEH Design to do conceptual drawings for the project, which is estimated to cost more than $5 million.

Conceptual drawings, which lay out in broad terms what the building could look like and how space could be used, are the first step in most building projects. While not always the case, the firm that does those early drawings usually ends up getting the contract for the actual design.

The board interviewed four architectural firms that were vying for the job.

"All the firms were great," library Director Jillian Aschliman said. "We were really lucky to have so many great firms responding to our request for proposals. [FEH] really emphasized the process in getting community involvement. We're not designing for us; we're designing for the community."

The firm also has experience working on projects in communities the size of DeWitt, Aschliman said.

"They're going to bring in ideas that are new and innovative," she added, "but also on a scale for us."

There also was some discussion about the community center across the street from the library. While there are no plans yet to make work on the community center part of the library project, Aschliman said the board also was exploring ways to use meeting spaces there to free up room in the library.

"It's just an idea we've thrown around," she said.

The project has no firm timetable yet. Aschliman said public meetings on the project could be held in late spring or early summer to hear from DeWitt residents about what they want the project to include.

The cost for the project also remains imprecise, although a 2009 study - which Aschliman said needed to be updated - put the cost at $5.3 million. That includes a $2.3 million bond issue that would have to be approved by voters; $750,000 from the library's endowment; $750,000 in grants; and a $1.5 million fundraising campaign.

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