Sugar Grove Library Renovation Project Creates 'NOWspace'

Sugar Grove Library Renovation Project Creates ‘NOWspace’

The Sugar Grove Public Library has been awarded an $85,692 matching grant to renovated the front area of the library formerly known as the Café.

Aurora-based architecture firm Cordogan and Clark partnered with the Sugar Grove Library to develop the project and perform the extensive planning needed to apply for funding. The Live and Learn construction grant is administered through the Illinois State Library and funded through an appropriation from the Illinois State Legislature.

The new flexible, mixed-use area will be called the NOWspace, in keeping with the charge that public libraries must continually adapt to keep their facility “in the now.”  The Sugar Grove Library is a district library serving about 16,000 residents in Sugar Grove, Sugar Grove Township, and part of Montgomery and Aurora.

The current facility was built in 2009, while the district has been in operation since 1963.

The grant, written by Library Director Shannon Halikias, will provide for updates that will provide more usable civic space, flexible mixed use space for programming, furniture refurbishments, and updates for better American Disabilities Act accessibility, including bathroom door assists, stability rails in stalls, and adaptable furniture. A key component of the project is the creation of two studios: an audio-visual studio with recording technology and green screen and an additional podcasting and audio recording studio.

“We have a call to perform fiscally responsible projects that meet the contemporary needs of patrons, and be a good steward to our building with needed updates,” Halikias said. “Our building is 12 years old, and how patrons use the library differs from over a decade ago.

“An area for the beloved booksale materials, group seating and hotel style counter for coffee and laptop use will be welcome highlights. Creating spaces for informally gathering, working, creating content and performing maker activities is key to a fully functioning contemporary library.”

The studio spaces may be used for podcasting, recording and mixing, creating commercials for a business or social media, history projects, student media projects and more.

Tim Weber of Cordogan and Clark performed an evaluation of current patron spaces as well as ADA and mechanical needs which showed more work space for contemporary patron needs was needed.  With Weber’s facility plan and a clear understanding of adaptability and technology needs from Halikias, the plan was constructed with an eye to a budget-friendly project.

“The library is considered quite underfunded with an operating rate which leaves few dollars for updates, repairs to the facility or refurbishment,” Halikias said. “Without grant funding for projects, it is difficult to be a steward to the facility and perform modifications or repairs. Through the Live and Learn Construction grant, we now have an opportunity to leap forward in our services.”

The grant is considered competitive, and involves careful evaluation before a committee through the Illinois State Library.

Cordogan and Clark will be managing the project, and request for bids for components of the project are expected to be launched in the fall, with award decisions made in November. Library officials say work will be done through the winter to save on construction costs, and the NOWspace will open in the spring.

Brian Kronewitter, executive vice president, will provide key oversight in the construction elements of the project. Both John Cordogan and John Clark, founders of the firm, have significant ties to Sugar Grove and were the architects and builders of the current facility.

Further updates to the project will be promoted as details are available.    You may contact Library Director Shannon Halikias at or visit the Library located at 125 S. Municipal Drive in Sugar Grove.

SOURCE: Sugar Grove Library news release