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 Part II: 1980 - Present

Library Renovation and Remodeling Project

Questions and Answers
about the Renovation and Remodeling Project

Q. What’s the latest news on the Library’s building renovation project?
A. On February 10, 2014, the Wauconda Area Library Library Board of Trustees voted proceed with a $1.75 million plan for updating the existing facility’s interior and making improvements.  

Q. Why is this project necessary?

A. The current facility was built in 1997 and is showing its age not only in wear and tear but in how it serves the community.  This renovation project will not only bring the library’s interior up to date and make it look new again, but it will set the stage for providing outstanding library services for the Wauconda Area community well into the future. 

Q. Do we really need a library building when so much is on the Internet?
A. The Internet has not replaced the public library.   Borrowing printed books, DVDs, and CDs is still the most common use of public libraries.  In 2013, there were more than 220,000 visits to the library, and library patrons checked out more than 600,000 items, only 3% of which were downloaded items.  People also use the library as a place to gather, network, study, discover, learn, and create new informational content. The refurbished, better equipped library will support these activities better than ever before.

Q. What’s wrong with the building as it is?

A. Open since 1997, the building has seen heavy use.  Its mechanical and electrical systems, roof, windows, and structure are in good shape.  Floors, furnishings, wall treatments, restrooms, and some of the lighting need, though, are in need of rejuvenation.  The existing facility does not offer many of the popular features seen at newer libraries, such as small meeting rooms, a well-equipped classroom, interactive displays and equipment for kids and teens that encourage learning, and attractive, user-friendly furnishings that improve the overall library experience. The renovation and remodeling project will enable the library to provide all of this and more.

Q. Why do this now – why not wait until the economy improves?
A. Aside from the fact that the library needs these improvements now, it simply makes good financial sense to do this now.  Interest rates have been at an all-time low, and are expected to increase as the economy recovers.  Construction costs have also been low because of the ailing economy, and are expected to increase significantly as the economy strengthens.  The longer we wait, the more this project will cost. 

Q. Will there be more parking?

A. No.  The building and the parking around it will remain the same size.

Q. Who decided to do this?
The Wauconda Area Library Board of Trustees - the library’s governing authority - made this decision after an extensive planning effort that began back in August, 2013, when Product Architecture + Design was hired to come up with a master plan for making library improvements.  Architects met with library managers and staff members numerous times to address the various needs of each of the library's public service areas.  The architects presented their master plan to the board at their regular board meeting January 13, 2014.  Revised plans were presented at a Committee of the Whole meeting February 4, 2014.  After a presentation by Steve Larson (Senior Financial Advisor/Director for Ehlers, Inc.) confirming the affordability of this project and a reviewing a financial plan for funding it, the library board voted to proceed with the plan.

Q. Who are the architects?
A. Tiffany Nash and Dan Pohrte, of Product Architecture and Design, are the primary architects who worked on the master plan.  They were hired because of their ability to think and create "outside the box", as demonstrated by their recent work at Arlington Heights Memorial Library, Vernon Area Public Library, Ela Area Library, and Indian Trails Public Library, to name just a few.

Q. How much will it cost?

A. The Library has budgeted $1,750,000 to cover all the costs related to this project, including construction, new carpet and furnishings, architectural fees, and construction management fees.  An additional $150,000 has been budgeted for new technology.

Q. Where’s the money coming from?

A. The Library has been accumulating unspent funds from its operating budget for several years in order to make improvements when needed.   The Library will borrow $1.2 million in the form of a 10-year debt certificate at a very low interest rate.  This will be paid back using general funds.  It has been determined that the library can afford to do this with no negative impact on library operations or services.

Q. Will this project cause my taxes to increase?
A. There will be no building bond levy associated with this project, as there has been for the existing building since 1996.  In fact, the 20-year bond issue that voters approved in 1995 so that we could build the existing library will expire in 2015, and taxpayers will consequently see a decrease in their library tax.

Q. What are the key elements of the renovation project?
A. For a more detailed description of the various objectives of this project, please click here.  Briefly, this project will accomplish the following:

  • Replace all carpeting and interior paint, and update all chairs and tables as needed
  • Create a more effective, more accessible circulation area and information desk
  • Provide better lighting in upper level (Adult Services) and accent lighting to brighten Children’s Services as needed
  • Provide more rooms for collaboration, networking, or quiet study and a high-tech classroom well equipped for hands-on instruction for adults and teens.  The classroom will enable the library not only to host regular classes covering many computer-related topics, but also career development classes, video conferencing, lunchtime brown-bag classes, and much more. 
  • Create a larger teen area that provides more for teens to do, including some high-tech interactive stations that will appeal to teens but will also be useful to adults as well
  • Provide more attractive, user-friendly display of new and popular materials in Adult and Children's Services
  • Provide more user-friendly Children's Services area featuring interactive displays and multimedia displays, a new “maker space” crafting area, and better access to computers for children
  • Expand staff workroom in Children's Services and improve the work space in Circulation Services workroom
  • Improve the sight and sound conditions in the community meeting room
  • Provide clear “way finding” for all, as well as more effective “sight lines” for staff

  • Q. Are there any drawings or illustrations available, yet?
    The master plan includes basic floor plans only for the purpose of making cost estimates.  The architects will be working on detailed drawings in the coming months.  We will make these available upon completion.

    Q. Will the library still provide the friendly, personal touch, or will everything be automated?
    A. The library will provide the best of both worlds - excellent personalized service and state-of-the-art technology.  Some of the new technology will enable staff to devote more quality time to assisting library patrons in finding the information or materials they need. 

    Q.  When will construction start and end?
    A. The scheduling of the project has not yet been determined, but it is likely the bidding out of the construction contracts will probably start in September, in which case construction would begin in October 2014, with completion January or February, 2015.

    Q. How will construction be done while the Library is open?
    A. The work will be done in phases.  We’ll move collections and services around to keep disruption to a minimum.

    Q. Will the library be closed for construction?
    No closures related to this project are planned.

    Q. How will the library inform the public as progress is made?
    A. The library will issue frequent updates. We will use news releases, printed newsletters, flyers, e-mail distributions, website postings, Facebook, and Twitter.







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