Firms recruited to evaluate Ilsley Library building needs

MIDDLEBURY — The Ilsley Public Library Board of Trustees has invited four companies to submit proposals for renovating and/or expanding the historic, 14,700-square-foot library building on Middlebury’s Main Street.
Erected in 1923, the Ilsley hosts approximately 180,000 visits each year for its books, periodicals, computers and other amenities, making it one of the busiest libraries in Vermont. Its deficiencies include inadequate space for its programming, poor accessibility for patrons, insufficient restroom facilities and poor air circulation, according to a list drafted by the Library Building Committee.
On Feb. 1, the committee sent a request for qualifications to 17 architectural firms — eight in Vermont, one in New Hampshire, two in the greater Albany, N.Y., area, and the remaining six in Boston, New York and Cleveland.
Nine of the contacted firms submitted their qualifications.
On April 4, the committee discussed the nine submissions and picked four firms to be asked to submit proposals. Three of those firms are from Vermont — Gossens Bachman of Montpelier, Northern Architects of Burlington, and Vermont Integrated Architecture of Middlebury. The fourth, Holzman Moss, is based in New York City.
The firm ultimately selected by the town of Middlebury will use the library’s 2016 Strategic Plan to assess how best to achieve its goals within the building and adjacent land owned by the library, and also determine whether the goals of the plan can be met less expensively or better by constructing a new building.
The preliminary architectural services phase will include schematic documents and cost estimating to support raising funds from private, grant and/or public sources.
Building committee members have drafted a tentative schedule calling for the release of RFP to the selected firms in early May, with proposals due by June 17. Library officials will pick the selected firm by July 1, followed by public input sessions on design process during the month of July. A fundraising feasibility study will be conducted this October through November. A fundraising campaign would be launched this fall.
The committee’s tentative schedule calls for construction of the library project to begin during May of 2018.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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