City issues RFP for new library design

Published 10:14 pm Friday, August 9, 2019

The city of Suffolk is looking for companies to submit design proposals for a new downtown library.

The city issued the request for proposals Friday and, specifically, it is looking for a company to provide design and engineering services for a new downtown library, which would replace the 14,500-square-foot Morgan Memorial Library on 443 W. Washington St. across from City Hall.

In the most recent adopted Capital Improvement Program and Plan for fiscal years 2020 to 2029, the city has set aside $1.9 million in fiscal year 2020 for the design of a 45,305-square-foot, $21.1 million library to go on West Washington Street.

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The RFP notes that the new library’s anticipated size will be between 45,000 and 50,000 square feet, and it is part of the city’s downtown master plan, with the scope of the work to include preparing construction documents as well as construction administration.

The RFP states that the library “would be designed with wide-ranging community input to develop a flexible and versatile community building” that could handle about 100,000 volumes of library materials and support about 35 staff members, including library administration, support services, outreach and bookmobile services.

It would also include, according to the RFP, a lounge and study areas, along with meeting, conference and exhibit spaces, along with state-of-the-art technology, internet access and dedicated spaces for early childhood literacy, teens and local history and genealogy. The proposal also notes that there should be a patron drive-up window and a food and beverage area in the new library.

The outdoor features the city is seeking in the new library, according to the RFP, include an enclosed reading garden and patio, a pet-friendly area, a community garden and covered, open-air event space. It will also include site design, a parking lot, stormwater improvements and landscaping.

“The facility should be uniquely modern but still retain the character of the other municipal buildings downtown, such as the new Municipal Center,” the RFP states.

Waller, Todd and Sadler Architects presented the city with proposed plans for a new downtown library last November. At that time, it also presented an option to renovate Morgan Memorial Library, but that would cost $25 million, plus another $2.4 million to make streetscape improvements.