Geneva Library Might Seek $24.9 Million For New Building at Sixth Street Site

Geneva Library Might Seek $24.9 Million For New Building at Sixth Street Site

The Geneva Public Library hopes to put a $24.9 million referendum on the April 15 ballot that would put a new downtown library at the former Sixth Street School site.

Geneva Public Library officials hope to put a $24.9 million referendum on the April 4 ballot that would fund construction of a new library on this now-vacant lot, the former site of  Sixth Street School and the Kane County Regional Office of Education.

The Geneva Library Board of Trustees has approved a preliminary plan and cost estimate to construct a new, $24.9 million library at the former Sixth Street School and Regional Office of Education site at 210 S. Sixth St.

The Library Board approved a resolution to move forward with the plan in a unanimous vote at its Nov. 17 meeting. The board will now work with architectural firm StudioGC to finalize the project scope and financial advisors Ehlers Financial to develop a financing plan, which will be reviewed at a public hearing Dec. 22.

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-9-43-23-amThe resolution states that the board will raise $24.9 million by issuing bonds to cover the cost of architectural services, construction and furnishings for a new library. At that amount, the owner of a home valued at $300,000 would see an increase of about $110 per year on his or her property tax bill.

Library Director Christine Lazaris emphasizes that the building plans are in the early stages.

“The project scope will be based on community feedback following three community forums the board and architects conducted,” she said. “Those forums provided a valuable opportunity for us to hear from our community. The board has not yet adopted a bond question because we wanted to get community feedback and incorporate those suggestions into our building plan.”

Sixth Street Demolition 092215 i

The former Sixth Street School and Regional Office of Education building was demolished in September 2015.

Lazaris said the goal is to have the final cost and square footage completed for the December hearing, when the board will decide whether to adopt a bond question for an April 2017 referendum.

“This is an exciting opportunity to invest in the future and build a library that offers the programs and resources our community needs,” said Library board President Robert Shiffler.

The community forums, held Nov. 12 and 15, were the latest step in a process that began over a year ago to evaluate the condition and operating costs of the current library building and determine how to best serve the library district in the future.

The board concluded that it makes the most fiscal sense to build a new facility that offers the space and amenities the community needs.

“The library is landlocked at its current location, and community feedback has been clear that the library must provide additional services and resources, along with study space, meeting space, function rooms — and on-site parking,” the Library Board said in a Nov. 19 news release. “In addition, contemporary libraries are evolving to meet community needs by offering resources like drive-up convenience, 3-D printing services, craft rooms, equipment checkout, early literacy play areas, and more. Those services cannot be provided at the current location.”