Design Contract for New Library and City Hall Awarded

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Thursday November 09, 2017

As details are being finalized for the move of the South Burlington library to its temporary home at the University Mall, plans for a new library are taking shape. On Monday, November 7, city council approved the Library Board of Trustees’ October 30 recommendation of the architectural firms selected to draft designs for a new library/city hall to be located in City Center, contingent on voter approval. The contract was awarded to the team of Weimann Lamphere/Humphries Poli Architects. 

The city’s Project Director Ilona Blanchard, flanked by Library Board Chair MargaretAnn Cross, and members of the library board and design selection committee, gave an overview of the process by which these firms were chosen as well as an idea of their areas of expertise. Blanchard explained that 31 firms requested the RFQ (request for qualifications) package and 8 sets of qualifications were received by September 29. The selection committee, which included Blanchard, Library Director Jennifer Murray, Public Works Director Justin Rabidoux, and Mark Coel, the library board’s representative, had considered a number of criteria in their selection process. The most important of these included design excellence, public quality of work, teamwork and management approach, and public library design. When the 8 firms were whittled down to 4, each was invited to submit a proposal and meet with the committee for an interview in October. They were then ranked by project management/capacity, technical and creative ability, and price. Weimann Lamphere/Humphries Poli were lauded for their combination of local talent and national expertise, and the team was unanimously approved by the committee.

Both firms stood out for their commitment to community engagement and compelling track records. Humphries Poli, a Denver based company has a breadth of experience in designing more than 80 libraries, including one that is a joint library/city hall. Weimann Lamphere, a Colchester firm, recently constructed the new VPR building which is both net zero and LEED certified.

This project is to be funded through a combination of capital improvement reserve funds, future TIF financing debt, donations, grants, and future impact fees. The city reserve fund will finance the design portion of the project. The public library portion is eligible for 30 percent TIF financing and the city hall part of the project qualifies for 10 percent.

A public process will get underway shortly where the community will have a chance to weigh in on ideas and then three different designs for both the interior and exterior of the building will be proposed for consideration. The project is expected to go to voters on a November 2018 ballot.


SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent