Monona Council hears library expansion update

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By Audrey Posten

 

Murphy Helwig Library’s expansion plans took another step forward Monday night, as the Monona Council gave the go-ahead for Greg Baum, architect with FEH Associates Inc., to proceed with developing construction and bidding documents for the project.

Baum, who has worked with the library throughout the planning process, first gave an update of the design development phase, noting that the estimated cost for the project is nearly $885,500, down a couple hundred dollars from the previous estimate.

The expansion project will include an addition to the front of the current building, which will house the children’s collection and activity area. On the left side of the library (from the front), a meeting room will be added along with a young adult area and a study room. The updates will also include the creation of two entrances into the building, with one straight into the library and another into the meeting room. The meeting room could then be used without disturbing other parts of the library and even when the library is closed. In addition, the expansion will necessitate some other updates, including ADA compliant restrooms, energy efficient heating, plumbing and adequate electrical receptacles.

Some of the topics discussed in the latest planning stage, said Baum, were interior furnishings and the engineering needed for things like electrical furnishings and sinks. FEH and the library board are also looking into the possibility of putting an array of solar panels on the library roof. The main issue, Baum added, is that a project like that would call for a new roof. The roof, said library director Chris Bee, was replaced in 2012.

Another project consideration involves using permeable pavers for the driveway leading to the parking lot that will be located next to the library. Baum said that is the flattest area, allowing water to run right into the ground. Pavers could not be used for the five parking spaces, as that area is not level enough, he added.

The next phase of the project, development of construction and bidding documents, will take place over the next month. Those plans will be presented at the March 16 council meeting, during which a public hearing will also be held. After that, Baum said, drawings can be released to possible contractors, with bids due around mid-April and a contract hopefully awarded at the April 20 council meeting. The groundbreaking and construction process is anticipated to begin in late spring/early summer, with work continuing through the end of 2015.

Zoning change

The council approved the planning and zoning commission’s recommendation to re-zone nine lots of the Innovative Ag Services (IAS) property, bordered by North, East and Center Streets, from R-2 residential multi-family dwelling to M-2 industrial. The area that contains much of IAS’s grain bins is already zoned M-2, but one bin and parts of several others were in the residential area.

In 2015, IAS plans to remove several smaller, older grain bins, upgrading their storage capacity with a larger bin. Construction of a new grain dump building, new grain dryer and wet holding bin are also planned.

All of these upgrades will take place in the area already zoned M-2, but future bin upgrades that would increase grain storage capacity would occur in part of the R-2 area.

The planning and zoning commission agreed to the change under stipulations that no grain bins will be constructed in the open area and that any buildings constructed will not exceed 35 feet, the residential height restriction. They also called for the creation of an appropriate storm water retention basin.

IAS said truck traffic will now be routed through the grain handling facility, eliminating travel on some streets.

Manager Doug Schrader said improvements should also cut down on noise and better control grain dust.

Sewer rates

The council approved the first reading of an ordinance that would change the monthly sewer rate from $15 to $35 in order to pay for wastewater treatment facility and sanitary sewer improvements. The ordinance can be read up to two more times before it can be passed.

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