Posted 12 months ago
By John Axtell
The Chadron Public Library Board has taken the next major step toward a multi-million dollar renovation and expansion of the town’s century-old Carnegie Library, choosing a Denver firm to design the project.
Humphries/Poli Architects was picked unanimously from 3 finalists who made public presentations to the board and interested Chadron area residents last month.
Board member Drew Petersen says it was obvious from the feedback by board members, the library foundation, and others that while any of the 3 firms would do a good job, Humphries/Poli offered the best balance of what everyone wanted in the expansion and renovation.
Humphries/Poli has built or renovated 64 libraries, including 5 Carnegie libraries, and Dennis Humphries says they approached each one with the basic philosophy of honoring the legacy of the past while looking toward the future.
The non-profit Chadron Library Foundation…which raises funds to support the library…has been exploring a new or expanded facility for several years, while the library board has been actively planning toward a project for about 2 years…in part because the current building in not handicapped-accessible.
A study commissioned by the Foundation in 2009 recommended a library of about 16,000-square feet…more than twice the space of the existing library, which was built with a grant from Andrew Carnegie and renovated with a small expansion in the 1960s.
Dennis Humphries says his firm puts a heavy emphasis on “conserving resources” for each library it builds…taking construction, operation, accessibility, maintenance and other costs into consideration. The company also uses what he calls a “mindbreaking process” to get the local community to help design its project.
A design team from Humphries/Poli will be coming to Chadron to meet with the Library Board and interested individuals to get ideas of what the expansion and renovation should include. No date has been set for the visit, but Drew Petersen says it could be as early as next month.
Examples of libraries built or renovated by Humphries/Poli can be seen on the company’s website, www.hparch.com.