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  • By Lisa Brody

Library to issue RFPs for new youth room

Birmingham city commissioners unanimously approved the issuance of request for proposals (RFPs) for construction for Phase 2 of Baldwin Library's improvement project, for the Youth Room, at their meeting on Monday, February 25.

Doug Koschik, Baldwin Library Director, explained that Phase 1 was the completed Adult Services renovation, and Phase 3 will be for a redone entrance and outdoor area. He said that the library board had hired Luckenbach Ziegelman Gardner (LZG) Architects, the same firm which had done the Adult Services area, for conceptual/schematic design work for the expansion and renovation of the Youth Room, as well as to provide cost estimates. On February 18, he said, LZG presented its final plan to the library board, which endorsed the final plan and authorized the issuance of the RFP for the plan.

He said they had presented the plans to the city's planning board and historic district commission as well, and both had approved them.

The plan for the Youth Room “will expand the room approximately 40 percent, or about 2,000 square feet, toward the north, east and south, adding an aquarium and expanding the restrooms,” Koschik said. “It will be fully ADA-compliant. It will honor the original 1927 building by exposing the original brick (of the building).”

In addition to increasing the size of the play area by 130 percent, the story room area by 160 percent and seating by 50 percent, the renovation will add a youth terrace and garden to the north of the building.

“An atrium will be built, creating a mid-century glass pavilion,” Koschik described, and that is where the terrace and garden will go. The 1938 WPA gate will be taken out of storage and put in as a gate to the garden.”

Outside the Youth Room, an aquarium will be put in, as well as a cafe.

Construction costs are estimated at over $1.5 million for the expansion and renovation, with furniture and fixtures at $485,645. Architecture and engineering costs are estimated at $168,498; landscaping, including the new terrace and seating, are estimated at $109,114. With computer wiring and a five-percent contingency, estimated costs by Koschik are approximately $2.4 million.

Koschik said that library trust funds, fundraising and fund balance take it down by $425,210, with additional library millage for three years (declining each year), up to the Headlee cap, amounting to just over $2 million.

Commissioners approved the RFP for construction by a 6-0 vote, with commissioner Stuart Sherman not in attendance, with bids due April 10.

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