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New Park Grove Library gets architect, construction timeline

The County Board is moving forward with architectural designs for a new Park Grove Library, to be constructed in 2019. RiverTown Multimedia file photo

The Washington County Board has set an aggressive construction timeline to get a new Park Grove Library operational by fall 2020.

Board members approved a contract with architect firm Hammel, Green and Abrahamson for $631,000 Sept. 26 to design a new library at 7900 Hemingway Ave. The total project is estimated to cost $7 million. HGA recently renovated the Minnesota State Capitol building.

"These are aggressive timelines, and I think that we need to hopefully continue to meet this timeline because these are needs, that our communities are expecting to be able to provide the services," Washington County Commissioner Karla Bigham said at the board meeting.

A facilities assessment completed last year found that the Park Grove Library — and the Wildwood Library in Mahtomedi, also set to be constructed and occupied by 2020 — need improvements.

If not replaced, staff estimated the Park Grove facility would need $2.4 million in repairs and improvements over the next nine years, approximately 60 percent of the total building cost.

Joe Welter, building services project manager, said the Cottage Grove library has deficiencies in the HVAC systems, fire suppression, lighting and alarm systems, along with a lack of space for activities in the 33-year-old building.

"The improvements are needed from security, to space needs due to the growth in this area," Bigham said.

The city of Cottage Grove has favored a community center to replace the old City Hall/ former Business Enterprise Center next to the Park Grove Library. The county plans to work with the city to plan site design for that area.

"They're going to also have some redevelopment of their site that they own right next to it with the old Cottage Grove City Hall. There's an opportunity there to work with them, and I'm excited about hopefully taking that opportunity with them in this area," Bigham said.

Bigham also said she wants to see St. Paul Park, Newport, Grey Cloud Island Township and Denmark Township involved in the planning because it is intended to be a regional library.

The libraries will be funded by revenue of tax-exempt bonds issued in 2019, and temporary use of the 2017 and 2018 fund balance. The county intends to reimburse the fund balance from bond proceeds.

The library's architectural design, which won awards when it was first built, will be used as a jumping off point for the new building.

"Our intent is to draw strong lines as a relationship between the existing building and the future building ... and to try to keep some of the architectural features prevalent in both designs," Welter said.